Washington: The Navy is developing a version of C-3PO – the lovable ‘Star Wars’ robot who appeared on the big screen 35 years ago, to fight shipboard fires, it has been revealed.
The Naval Research Laboratory is said to have named the robot Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid (ASH).
ASH will be able to walk in any direction, keep its balance at sea and go through narrow passageways and up ladders.
Naturally it’ll have all sorts of sensors and cameras and will be able to see through smoke but maybe not through walls.
It will also be able to respond to human gestures and hand signals.
ASH would be able to throw PEAT (propelled extinguishing agent technology) grenades, and be able to use hoses and fire extinguishers.
The planned Navy robot is a follow-on version of Virginia Tech’s CHARLi-1 robot, which was developed by Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) founded and directed by Virginia Tech professor Dennis Hong.
“It is walking now and will start testing on a Navy ship early next year,” the Washington Post quoted Hong as saying in an e-mail.
“But that does not mean that it is complete — it still needs a lot of things done,” such as “protection against heat and flames . . . sensors, navigation, fire fighting behaviours.
“It still has a long way to go until it can actually be deployed for fighting fires but it will one day,” he added.