Development Of A Firefighting Remote Controlled Robot Computer Science Essay

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A design has been developed and a prototype constructed for an autonomous (self-navigating) firefighting robot able to compete in the Trinity Firefighting Robot Competition, an annual event held at Trinity College, in Connecticut. This competition scores robots based on their ability to complete the following task in the shortest amount of time possible[1]

· Navigate a floor plan structure

· Locate a lit candle placed in a random location in this structure

· Hone in on the candle

· Extinguish the candle

The competition promotes the growth of robotics knowledge and simulates a real-world robotics application. A fire fighting robot could be used in a warehouse or other uninhabited structure to guard against fires without human intervention.

The robot's hardware was designed to be reliable, easy-to-use, and accurate. Stepper motors are used to drive and steer the robot through the floor plan structure in an exact manner. Infrared distance sensors provide continuous feedback as to the locations of walls and other obstacles. The flame detection system makes use of two sensors, an ultraviolet detector and an infrared phototransistor, to quickly tell if a candle is present and locate its exact position. The robot can be activated by the press of a push button.[1]

The robot's software was designed to be efficient and easily modifiable. Native HC12 assembly language was used, which allows code to be produced that is efficient and small in size. Assembly language also provides greater control over the robot's microprocessor. The software is subroutine based, allowing future code revisions to be made with relative ease.

The robot has been thoroughly tested, and it has been determined that the robot is capable of completing the required tasks in any situation the robot may encounter at the firefighting robot competition. This design project is a solid base upon which future teams could build upon to implement more advanced features and compete in higher-level competition categories.


The development of remote controlled fire-fighting robot is discussed. The design of the robot is based on a small multi-function crawler hydraulic excavator. The structure and operating principle of the robot are introduced. The original crawler hydraulic excavator is modified and a new remote control system is implemented. The function of walking, turning, roadblock striding and many functions of the robot are accomplished through the remote control system. The performance testing of the robot shows that the performance of the robot can meet the anticipated requirements.[9]

I have to implement and build a computer controlled fire fighting robot that can move through a mode floor plan structure of a house, find a lit candle and then extinguish it in the shortest time possible. This robot will simulate a real-world operation of a robot performing a fire security function in an actual home on a simulated floor plan and fire.

Provided is a fire-fighting robot that can quickly start to fight a fire occurring at a hazardous location, which firefighters cannot access, and extinguish fires occurring at any location without receiving a supply of fire extinguishing water.The fire-fighting robot one of the present invention is self-propelled and remote-controlled via wireless or mobile communications to fight a fire. The robot includes one or more fire extinguisher storage portions (24a, 24b) for storing fire extinguishers (24c, 24d) which provide a jet of a fire-fighting agent from a jet outlet (26) by depressing a lever, a jet control portion disposed in the fire extinguisher storage portion (24a, 24b) for depressing the lever, and a jet outlet securing portion (26a) for detachably securing the jet outlet (26) of the fire extinguisher (24c, 24d)[10]


Robot is defined as a mechanical design that is capable of performing human tasks or behaving in a human-like manner. Building a robot requires expertise and complex programming. It's about building systems and putting together motors, solenoids, and wires, among other important components. There are a number of subsystems that must be designed to fit together into an appropriate package suitable for carrying out the robot's task. A firefighter robot is one that has a small fire extinguisher ad ded to it. By attaching a small fire extinguisher to the robot, the automaton put out the fires it detects can be achieved. The fire detection scheme to be put into use is relatively free of false alarms, it is anticipated that it will not overreact in non-fire simulations. As mentioned earlier, the design of the robot is according to specification of the contest.[9]

Firefighting robots could save a lot of lives some day. Lives of those affected by a fire disaster as well as lives of those people working as firefighters. Although this day has yet to come research efforts in this field pushes things further every year.

As I said robots assisting firefighters are not an often seen sight. Nevertheless there are robotic devices that can already be used for such purposes. These include bots that can be thrown into the fire site to inspect the situation as well as large remote controlled fire extinguishers.

This remote-control fire-fighting robot goes where its human comrades cannot, and its relatively compact size makes it ideal for combating blazes in urban environments. An array of 8 high-resolution wide-angle cameras provides a panoramic view of the surroundings, and a multi-channel control system allows 10 fire-fighting robots to be deployed simultaneously. Special nozzles that are 10 times more powerful than those on conventional fire hoses allow the robot to blast flames with 5000 liters of water per minute.


The purpose of this project is to design and build a remote controlled firefighting robot able to compete in the Trinity Firefighting Robot Competition. The robot will navigate a mock floor plan representing a building and search every room in this building for a lit candle representing a fire. The robot should extinguish this candle once the candle is located. The Trinity Firefighting Robot Competition promotes the growth of robotics knowledge and simulates a real-world robotics application. A firefighting robot could be used in a warehouse, barn, or other structure to extinguish a fire before human assistance is available. We have to research about how the robot is working.[4]

The specific chalange of this contest is to build a remote controlled robot that can move throw a model floor plan structure of a house,find lit candle and then extinguish, it in the shortest time subject to a few operating factors,This is meant to simulate the real world operation of a robot performing a fire protection function in an actual home.The candle represents a fire which has started in thehome which the robot must first find and then extinguish.The goal of the contest is to advance robotics technology and knowledge while using robotics as an educational tool to enhance student's learning.



The fire fighting robot is made up of various hardware systems. These systems are as follows:





5.Fire Extinguishing System


The chassis used for Sparky is a tricycle design, with one wheel and one motor on both the left and right sides, and a trailing caster wheel in the rear. The robot's components are attached to a circular base made from 1/4" plastic. A rectangular upper level was also constructed, which provides a base for several sensors and the fan system.[5]


The robot moves using two unipolar stepper motors. These stepper motors require sequences consisting of four data bits to be provided to them at a regular interval in order to operate. Looping through this sequence in order will cause the motor's shaft to spin forward. Looping through this sequence in the reverse order will cause the shaft to spin backward. A table showing this sequence is provided below.[5]

The stepper motors require control signals at 12V DC and 0.3 A. The HC12 is not able to provide signals at these levels, so the motors cannot be directly connected to the HC12. Instead, control circuits were constructed to amplify the signals from the HC12 and send them to the stepper motors. These control circuits make use of TIP120 Darlington transistors to amplify the control signals. Each control signal from the HC12 is sent to the base of a transistor. When this signal is high, the transistor is switched on, causing 12V to flow through the transistor and to the motors. The HC12 is protected from the motor circuitry using 7407 buffers.

Sequence Position

Line 1

Line 2

Line 3

Line 4





















Table:Motor Control Signal Sequence


Three Sharp GP2D02 infrared sensors are used to determine the distance from the robot to the walls of the floor plan structure. They provide a digital distance measurement that is sent to the HC12. The GP2D02 sends out a beam of infrared light. This beam hits an object and is reflected back to the sensor's detector, creating a triangle between the emitter, point of reflection, and the detector. The angles of this triangle vary depending on the distance from the sensor to the object. Based on these angles the sensor is able to calculate the distance from the object. The distance measurement is sent from the Sharp sensor in 8 bit serial format.[5]

Fig: Sharp Distance Sensor Triangulation Method

The Hamamatsu UVTron Flame Detection Sensor is used to detect the presence of the candle when entering a room in the floor plan. The UVTron has a bulb that can detect ultraviolet light that is emitted from a flame. When the cathode of the bulb is exposed to ultraviolet light, photoelectrons are emitted causing a discharge to take place in the bulb. The attached circuit detects this discharge and emits an electrical pulse. The process repeats as long as ultraviolet light is present. These pulses are collected by the HC12 pulse accumulator.

An infrared phototransistor is used to locate the exact position of the candle in the room. A candle, due to its heat, produces a relatively large amount of infrared light.

The phototransistor outputs a voltage level proportional to the intensity of infrared light that it receives. This voltage level, in the range of 0 to 5 volts, is provided as an input to the A/D (Analog to Digital) converter of the HC12. The HC12 converts this value to a digital number.[5]


The Motorola HC12 microcontroller system is used to control the robot. It has a large array of input and output ports. The MEBI (Multiplexed External Bus Interface) provides four 8-bit I/O ports. Two 8-channel A/D (analog to digital) converters, two asynchronous serial communications interfaces, three synchronous serial interfaces, two 8-bit pulse accumulators, and eight PWM (pulse width modulation) channels are also present. Additionally, it has a large amount of available memory (256K flash EEPROM, 4K EEPROM, 12K RAM) which can store control programs, sensor data, and other information.[6]

v).Fire Extinguishing System:

A fan is used to blow out the candle using air. A fan would not be practical to extinguish a fire in a real-world situation, but the flame extinguishing system could be easily modified if a more realistic prototype was desired. The fan is made from a wooden RC (radio controlled) aircraft propeller and a 12V, .5A DC motor. The motor is turned on using a TIP120 transistor as a switch, with a signal from an I/O pin on the HC12 as input. The motor will spin as long as this control signal is high.

The goal of this contest is to encourage inventors of all ages and levels of skill to develop an autonomous fire-fighting home computer-controlled robot that can find, and put out as quickly as possible, a fire in a model house. The fire-fighting robot must navigate a maze (8 ft. by 8 ft.) that consists of four rooms. Rooms are surrounded by walls except for an 18" entrance. A single candle is randomly placed in one of the four rooms. The goal is for the mobile robot to explore the maze, locate the candle, and extinguish the candle in the minimum time. Robots must be within 12" of candle before extinguishing candle. The layout and dimensions of the maze and rooms are fully known to all contestants prior to the contest. For the advanced divisions, the hallways and room may be covered with carpeting, and there is a small staircase located within the maze. Bonuses are earned for returning to the start position after extinguishing the candle and allowing obstacles to be placed in the rooms. Participants are permitted to use any combination of building materials and computer technology.[7]


It was decided to use a combination of wall following and dead reckoning to navigate the robot through the floor plan structure. This scheme utilizes the benefits of both navigational methods, while minimizing both methods' individual faults. Some floor plan information was programmed into the robot, including what wall the robot should be following (the wall to the right or left) in order to proceed to a given room and what the robot should do upon entering and exiting a room.

The robot follows along a specified wall (right or left) until entering a room. The white line on the floor across the doorway is then detected and indicates that the robot has entered a room. The robot keeps a count of how many white lines it has come across, so that the robot knows what rooms it has entered and what its general position is in the floor plan structure.

The chosen method is simpler to program and more reliable than a truly random was following algorithm, because the robot does not have to backtrack and the risk of the robot getting stuck in a loop or becoming lost is minimized. The robot always has a general idea of where it is and where it needs to go. It is also simpler and more reliable than a true dead-reckoning algorithm, due to the fact that the robot's exact position in the structure does not have to be known and its exact travel path does not have to be pre-programmed. The robot can veer slightly off course as long as it eventually makes its way into a room.[8]


The robot can be used as a guider to guide the visitors from the entrance to the main office.

It can help doctors to carry the medicines from one ward to another.

3. The main purpose is to rescue the people by extinguishing fire in a building.

4. The robot can also be used in industrial purpose[7]


The robot was able to navigate through the contest floor plan structure by using a modified wall following algorithm. The robot could successfully enter a room and determine if the candle was in this room. If a candle was present, the robot could hone in on the candle and extinguish it. All design constraints placed on the robot by the rules of the competition were satisfied. The robot's cost is satisfactory to all of us.