Man and machine to fight fires together

Among the innovations launched yesterday is the SCDF Exoskeleton, a frame to be worn by firefighters. It bears the weight of firefighting equipment and comes with pneumatic pistons that will help to push firefighters up when they are climbing stairs.
Among the innovations launched yesterday is the SCDF Exoskeleton, a frame to be worn by firefighters. It bears the weight of firefighting equipment and comes with pneumatic pistons that will help to push firefighters up when they are climbing stairs.ST PHOTO: LEE JIA WEN

SCDF launches Red Rhino Robot and other innovations currently being trialled

Robots and firefighters will soon tackle emergencies side by side, extinguishing fires, transporting casualties and even saving lives.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) can move away from the usual four-man crew to a "3 + 1" model of three firefighters and one Red Rhino Robot, for instance, SCDF said at its annual workplan seminar yesterday.

The Red Rhino Robot, a new portable emergency responder robot dubbed 3R, was launched by Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam at the event at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. It was among several innovations and pieces of equipment unveiled by the force, some of which featured robotics heavily.

The Red Rhino Robot, which has autonomous firefighting capabilities, will be fitted into the sixth-generation Light Fire Attack Vehicle and equipped with an initial firefighting medium of compressed air foam. This will buy firefighters time as they set up their main water line.

In a speech, SCDF Commissioner Eric Yap highlighted the focus on robotics, automation and smart solutions in the coming work year, citing the need to "balance between higher operational loads and limited manning in the future".

Other innovations launched yesterday include the Life Detection Robot, to be used in urban search and rescue operations, and the SCDF Exoskeleton, which was developed jointly with local engineering company Hope Technik and the Ministry of Home Affairs.


  • TECH INNOVATIONS

    Over the years, the SCDF has been incorporating new technologies into its firefighting operations, like the unmanned firefighting machine (below). Find out more about the latest ones on

A frame to be worn by firefighters, the exoskeleton bears the weight of firefighting equipment and comes with pneumatic pistons that will help to push firefighters up when they are climbing stairs.

Hope Technik was also involved in the development of the Red Rhino Robot.

All newly launched innovations are currently at the proof-of-concept stage and being trialled by the force both in controlled and real-life environments. The final evaluation of the Life Detection Robot will take place by the end of the month.

As part of the force's move towards smart solutions, an indoor tracking system was also unveiled at the seminar.

Through this, firefighters' locations and vital signs, such as their temperature and heart rate, will be tracked via sensors on their equipment, providing information to ground commanders and aiding decision-making during operations.

Mr Shanmugam also launched a new scholarship for paramedics yesterday. "At the core, we need professional, dedicated and courageous SCDF officers," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2018, with the headline 'Man and machine to fight fires together'. Print Edition | Subscribe