TECH

US Navy Tests SAFFIR Fire-Fighting Robots On Board Burning Ship

02/04/2014 16:15 BST | Updated 02/04/2014 16:59 BST

The US Navy is testing a new fleet of humanoid robot fire-fighters in its latest push to introduce more mechanical 'personnel' to the military.

The robots are designed to perform under intense heat, performing tasks such as shutting off valves, dragging and moving fire hoses, fighting fires with water and work with human counter-parts.

The Shipboard Autonomous Fire-fighting Robot (Saffir) has been built by researchers at Virginia Tech and other American universities.

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The robots would be able to withstand intense heat for longer than human fire-fighters, and undertake dangerous tasks in areas humans would not be able to go.

Two types of the robot are to be tested - both made by Virginia Tech and California, Pennylvania and LA universities - on board the USS Shadwell.

The ship is decommissioned but is said to offer similar scenarios as would be faced in reality.

Meanwhile DARPA, the military research wing of the Pentagon, has announced a new research program designed to find the "intersection" of biology and technology, including renewable fuels and new types of battlefield robots.