The Korea Herald

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Samsung-backed Rainbow Robotics to co-develop firefighting robots

By Moon Joon-hyun

Published : Aug. 7, 2023 - 13:51

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A rendering of a quadruped firefighting robot created by Rainbow Robotics (Rainbow Robotics) A rendering of a quadruped firefighting robot created by Rainbow Robotics (Rainbow Robotics)

South Korean humanoid robotics company Rainbow Robotics said Monday it is joining a 17.4 billion won ($13.36 million) state-run project to develop robots specialized for firefighting.

Overseen by the Korea Institute of Robot and Convergence, affiliated with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the project aims to create two advanced firefighter robots by 2028.

One robot is designed to navigate disaster zones, with the ability to swiftly and precisely locate human presence. The other is expected to have a primary function of detecting and addressing fire sources efficiently.

Both robots, equipped with advanced sensors, will be able to perform sophisticated actions such as opening doors in smoke-dense areas and adjusting gas valves to prevent further hazards.

They are also designed to carry heavy-duty firefighting equipment, from waterproof guns to oxygen tanks and hydraulic tools.

Rainbow Robotics is tasked with defining the specifications for these robots, developing the initial prototypes, integrating the necessary firefighting solutions and ensuring the robots function reliably.

In the recent decade, firefighter injuries in Korea have more than doubled from 280 cases in 2011 to 613 in 2020, with a slight dip to 605 cases in 2021, according to the National Fire Agency. The death toll was 55 in the same period.

"We hope to improve success rates in locating individuals during disasters to enhance the safety of firefighters and reduce potential casualties. We also plan to expand our robotics technology into other public safety areas in the future,” a Rainbow Robotics official said.

Rainbow Robotics was founded by a research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology Humanoid Robot Research Center in 2011. Samsung Electronics is the second-largest shareholder of the robot developer with a 14.99 percent ownership.