Firefighting drones have played an important role in putting out deadly wildfires in the U.S. in recent years.
Walkera is one company in China engineering such fire-fighting drones that offer many advantages human-operated aircraft cannot. For example, helicopters and planes can’t travel in poor conditions because it puts pilots and crew in danger. Plus, in major cities, skyscrapers and tall buildings make reaching hard-to-get spots difficult.
“China is a fast-developing country, with hundreds of cities that have many skyscrapers, which makes the work of firefighters very difficult,” Walkera’s vice president of marketing Webber Fok told Drone Life. “The skyscrapers are so high that even the ladder trucks can hardly deal with them. Firefighters have to climb stairs with a heavy load — it takes time, which leads firefighters and trapped residents in danger.”
Zhun is Walkera’s fire-fighting drone. It works by spraying fire retardants through a carbon fiber pipe as it flies. The drone has some pretty intense features, like a rocket launcher that can shoot a 6-pound projectile into a burning unit.
How it works is Zhun will take off from the ground to locate a fire in an apartment complex. The drone hurls the projectile which shatters a window so that it can reach the fire. The “bomb” explodes, releasing a dry powder that helps quell the flame. Then Zhun sprays more water, puts the fire out and safely lands.
The Chinese army has already enlisted the help of at least 200 Zhun drones to assist its firefighters.
If you enjoyed this story, In The Know also covered this augmented reality eyepiece that lets firefighters see through smoke.
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