NC State researchers develop drones to assist firefighters

NC State students from three different departments joined together in a year-long competition to create drones capable of assisting firefighters.
The drones will be able to use infrared sensors to find people in a burning building, locate the origin of the fire and detect impending dangers to firefighters.

”The first and most important thing is that this will one day actually help real f iref ighters save the life of a person stranded in a burning building or save the life of a firefighter,” said Mihail Sichitiu, a professor in electrical and computer engineering.  Unlike the majority of research projects at NC State, the firefighting drone will be mainly built by NC State students spl it into nine teams of three or four, totaling about 30 students.

“What we are doing is developing a drone that can go inside a building on fire as quickly as possible, identify potential people that can still be in the building while at the same time being very safe,” Larry Silverberg said. Silverberg is a professor from the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and also one of the four NC State faculty members leading the effort.

In addition to using special infrared sensors designed to detect people and pets, the drone will also have sensors designed to detect dangerous areas of a structure that firefighters normally wouldn’t be able to know right away. … (Read more)