Firefighting and challenging environments

Noah Berger/Associated Press

Wildfires are becoming an ever greater threat across the world, and are a particularly relevant threat to the state of California. As part of the Fire Research Group at UC Berkeley, we are interested in the use of robotics (especially aerial robots) to assist in fire fighting.

We exploit our work on safe and reliable flight in challenging environments. For example, the incredible winds and debris present mean that systems operating in the vicinity of fire’s head mean that such vehicles must be able to withstand large disturbances. We envision using our extremely collision resilient designs, in combination with advanced state estimation, to allow a robot to autonomously move through environments with severe sensor deprivation, so that the vehicle can fly through the environment potentially colliding with it but still arriving at its goals.