Autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology company, EHang, has launched what claims to be the world’s first large-payload intelligent, aerial firefighting solution.
The EHang 216F is specially designed for high-rise firefighting. At the global launch ceremony in the city of Yunfu, China, EHang revealed the 216F and demonstrated its capability to extinguish a high-rise fire.
With a maximum flight altitude of 600 metres the 216F can carry up to 150 litres of firefighting foams and six fire extinguisher bombs in a single trip.
The 216F uses a visible light zoom camera to quickly identify the location of fire. It then hovers precisely in position and uses a laser aiming device to fire (in succession) a window breaker, the fire extinguishing “bombs” and then a full-range spray of firefighting foam. Multiple 216Fs can be deployed to rapidly extinguish the fire.
“We are pleased to introduce the EHang 216F AAV aerial firefighting solution, which solves difficult challenges in high-rise firefighting,” said EHang’s founder, chairman and CEO, Huazhi Hu. “The high-rise fire use case highlights the practical application of our passenger-grade AAV platform to different smart city management needs.
“We will explore and develop more aerial solutions and use cases to empower smart cities.”
“Firefighting and rescue is a race against death. By taking advantage of the rapid response and centralised management of the EHang AAV platform, we can greatly improve the effectiveness of our efforts”
EHang 216Fs are expected to be deployed in urban fire stations to assist in firefighting within a 5km radius. EHang’s autopilot and centralised management technologies enable a fleet of EHang 216Fs to be remotely dispatched for first response even before the firefighters arrive.
“Firefighting and rescue is a race against death. By taking advantage of the rapid response and centralised management of the EHang AAV platform, we can greatly improve the effectiveness of our efforts,” said by Weiqiang Chen, the head of a fire station in Yunfu.
He added: “EHang’s intelligent aerial firefighting solution can effectively solve difficult problems in fighting high-rise fires. This complements existing firefighting systems and will improve society’s ability to respond to emergencies.”
High-rise fires are a growing problem around the world. The height of fire rescue ladders and the reach of fire nozzles are usually less than 50 metres and their operations are often limited to one side of a building. Furthermore, because high-rise buildings are often located in urban centres, traffic can significantly lengthen response times.
Accelerating urbanisation and building density are increasing fire hazards and creating more difficulties in firefighting. According to a survey by China Fire Magazine, 233,000 fires were reported nationwide in 2019, among which 6,974 cases happened in high-rise buildings with a year-on-year growth of 10.6 per cent.