|Drones on the ground and in the air|
When the structure of the Parisian cathedral burned, the Parisian fire brigade sent a tracked robot inside the burning nave, dragging a 70-litre hose delivering between 1500 and 2000 liters of water per minute, which is too insufficient to extinguish the burning structure.
Of course, I did observe a few small nozzles supplied by 45 mm pipes and delivering no more than 500 liters of water per minute. The fire hoses were positioned outdoors with a limited range.
With current technologies, attacking the fire from elevating platforms would have been more appropriate, however, in order to limit risking the lives of operators, recent technologies offer a new possibility. A drone supporting its supply pipe and navigating at 30 degrees above the fire with about thirty meters from the flames.
Let’s first examine the feasibility: The UAV lance monitor holder should be located at an altitude of 70 meters, so that the pressure loss would be at about 8 bars.
The 70mm diameter water-filled hose would require the drone to carry about 80 meters, in other words 3/5 kg. The monitor weighs around 15 kg and batteries for 3 hours of autonomy, weigh more than 100 kgs, all within the framework of the taxi drone projects currently under study.
This project will be undertaken by POK® with its own funds as soon as the ongoing studies offer it the opportunity to do so. It should be remembered that in 42 years the company has developed 4200 products, i.e. about a hundred per year and therefore two per week.
POK started from nothing 42 years ago and started by losing its capital for an innovation, then this capital was rebuilt through hard work.
Today, public firefighters prefer to buy foreign equipment because journalists promote it. New French equipment is unknown to them for several reasons. First of all, because French companies do not have the means to make themselves known on this market and second of all, the French market is too small to make such an operation profitable. However, in other countries, firefighters are keen on innovation and make the effort to get information, which explains why POK sales are mainly made abroad.
So it will take between five and ten years for the information to return to France.
I have not yet heard the question: How do we proceed to innovate?
The principle is to try associations between various phenomena. Once the novelty has proven to have ensured the potential market, the product will be adopted by successive improvements. This is the longest and most expensive part of the research.
This “development” has become essential to produce a product that is accepted by modern customers.
Today with adjustable flow and pressure, a modern monitor has a range 30% greater than forty years ago. When I look back on these forty years, I say to myself that I have lived in a generation, the most extraordinary years of the profession.
With the drones, we will experience a new step forward. The opportunities offered by electronics are immense.