FAROS drone: The flying firefighting sidekick

KAIST researchers developed a wall-climbing quadcopter that can identify people and the source of a fire in a building.

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have recently developed the FAROS quadcopter to help firefighters in the event of a high-rise building fire. The drones have been specifically engineered to crawl up walls, and locate the source of the fire or any people in a building.

A high-rise fire is particularly dangerous due to the stack effect, which is the name for a naturally induced vertical flow of air that feeds the flames in a tall building. For firemen, this type of fire is difficult to extinguish.

The fire-resistant FAROS (Fireproof Aerial Robot System) quadcopter has been built to survey building interiors and transmit data, such as the location of the fire, to firefighters before they enter. Built-in sensors together with mechanical components that enable flight and movement, allow the drone to fly down corridors and process its location.

When the drone comes across an obstacle, it is able to turn on its side and use its feet and propellers to crawl along the wall. With an integrated thermal imaging camera and processing system, FAROS can detect any people trapped in a building and locate the origin of the fire. An aramid skin and cooling pocket between the skin and the frame protects the drone from gases and flames as temperatures can reach over 1 000 degrees Celsius.