Requirements for Wildland firefighting ground robots Conference Paper uri icon


  • This paper describes the wild land firefighting domain in terms of its implications for Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) types of mobile ground robots. The descriptive analysis is based on a focus group hosted by the Texas Engineering Extension Service with eight subject matter experts and nine technologists. Wildland fire fighting is characterized by the large area affected and the longer duration of the response, on the order of weeks or months. The focus group identified six potential functions of a ground robot: 1)transport supplies, hoses, trunk lines, and people, 2) reconnoiter the fire direction, speed, and other attributes, 3) direct fire suppression, 4) identify hot spots under canopies using thermal imaging, 5) investigate areas for fire hazards from dead trees and level burnt remnants, and 6) serve as a movable weather station determining wind speed and direction, relative humidity, fuel moisture and fuel temperature. The desired functions, when combined with the general organizational, economic, and manpower constraints, in turn lead to anticipated requirements for seven capabilities. These are mobility, navigation, sensing, communications, dexterity, reusability, and transportability. The description of the needed functionality and capabilities is expected to be of use to hardware and software developers.

author list (cited authors)

  • Murphy, R. R., Brown, R., Grant, R., & Arnett, C. T.

publication date

  • December 2009