Independent Firefighting Rescue Unit

Independent Firefighting Rescue Unit (IFRU) is an autonomous system based on an independently moving vehicle used for preventing, fighting and controlling fires.

The most important tools in urban firefighting are turntable ladders. They allow firefighters to reach fires quickly and securely and are important in fighting fires and evacuating people. However, there are some situations in which these ladders cannot be used, for example, in narrow streets or driveways. This is where the facade robot system comes into play. The unit climbs walls to reach fires and takes all of the measures required to fight them and to rescue trapped persons. Based on the Sliding Frame principle, the climbing robot is able to scale facades of varying heights easily without requiring much space. With its built-in camera, the IFRU can investigate the fire thoroughly, detect trapped persons and assess the environment. One of the robot’s arms can operate tools.

Depending on the height at which the fire is located, different rescue systems can be activated. At low elevations an emergency slide is lowered; at greater heights a rappel system facilitates the secure removal of people from the danger zone. Also, depending on the architecture of the building, different options can be used to access and fight the fire and to rescue victims, for example, windows can be opened or glass cutters can be used. Using a camera and a projector, the IFRU can project images on its mirrored protective doors to communicate visually with the firefighters on the ground. Trained rescue personnel can use this information to give instructions regarding the steps to be taken and can provide psychological support. If visibility is poor, the acoustic system can be used to facilitate communication.

The IFRU is controlled remotely by a person on the ground, who does not necessarily need to be in the danger zone. This robot not only offers an independent solution to a problem but its functional principle also can be used as a basis for the development of further concepts or alternatives, for example, by integrating the robot into a building’s architecture.

André Seibel

Diplomarbeit 2002

Bergischen Universität Wuppertal
Studiengang Industrialdesign

Prof. Trauernicht
Prof. Thomas