SAFFiR: the autonomous, firefighting humanoid robot

It took six years, but at long last, Anna Konda has a formidable firefighting partner. SAFFiR, also known as the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, is being shaped by scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory. As the story goes, it's a humanoid robot that's being engineered to "move autonomously throughout the ship, interact with people, and fight fires, handling many of the dangerous firefighting tasks that are normally performed by humans." Outside of being stoic (and brawny) from tip to tip, it's also outfitted with multi-modal sensor technology for advanced navigation and a sensor suite that includes a camera, gas sensor, and stereo IR camera to enable it to see through smoke. We're told that its internal batteries can keep it cranking for a solid half-hour, while being capable of manipulating fire suppressors and throwing propelled extinguishing agent technology (PEAT) grenades. Wilder still, it'll be able to balance in "sea conditions," making it perfect for killing flames while onboard a ship. Of course, it's also being tweaked to work with a robotic team, giving it undercover powers to eventually turn the flames on the folks that created it. Paranoid? Maybe. But who are we to be too careful?

Update: Turns out, the same Dr. Hong that we had on The Engadget Show is responsible for this guy as well. It's the next step in evolution of the CHARLI humanoid, and the two photos seen after the break are credited to RoMeLa: Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory, Virginia Tech.