Apparatus, SOC Specialized

Firefighting Vehicle Enhances Operations

Issue 11 and Volume 17.

Sinisa Jembrih

The Zagreb (Croatia) Fire Department recently acquired an MVF-5 multifunctional robotic firefighting vehicle developed to extinguish fires in life-threatening conditions and inaccessible areas and manufactured by DOK-ING, a privately owned Croatian company. The system is operated from a safe distance of up to 1,500 meters by using remote-control technology. The MVF-5 extends the reach of firefighters to protect high-risk industrial facilities and other dangerous environments.

The MVF-5 is equipped with two tanks for water and foam. The vehicle can extinguish fires with minimal damage to itself and operators, who remain outside the range of danger during operation. With the MVF-5, operators can use water, foam, or a combination of both extinguishing liquids. The Zagreb (Croatia) Fire Department is analyzing different extinguishing agents.

(1) The standard operating tool mounted in front of the system is
a rotational gripper combined with dozer blade. MVF-5 can lift up
to two tons with the rotational gripper to remove dangerous
objects.
[Photos courtesy of Zagreb (Croatia) Fire Department.]
 

More than Extinguishment

The standard operating tool mounted in front of the system is a rotational gripper combined with dozer blade. MVF-5 can lift up to two tons with the rotational gripper to remove dangerous objects. The gripper can also penetrate buildings, cut wires, and be used as a spreader. The dozer blade can push up to 10 tons. The tool allows the operator to clear a path in front of the system so that others can pass safely.

The MVF-5 also features a video system that allows the operator to have full control of the vehicle’s movement during operation. The video system consists of six high-resolution and waterproof cameras. One of the cameras is a thermal imaging camera, which allows MVF-5 to operate during reduced visibility conditions.

Future Evolution

Developers of the MVF-5 intend to make the vehicle suitable for chemical and radiological monitoring, and future versions will be based on the base concept of the current vehicle. There will also be various engine types to specify, including diesel, electric, or hybrid diesel-electric. The engine type determines power, autonomy, and vehicle protection architecture.

(2) With the MVF-5, operators can use water, foam, or a
combination of both extinguishing liquids. The Zagreb (Croatia)
Fire Department is analyzing different extinguishing agents.
 

An electric motor will simplify the following issues:
• Entrance into contaminated areas.
• Hydraulics and the engine cooling.
• Oxygen supply to the engine with internal combustion won’t be necessary anymore.

Whichever engine is chosen, options for future vehicles will include the following:
• Explosion resistance (the amount of pressure and shock wave speed that the vehicle can withstand).
• Fire resistance (the temperature that the vehicle can withstand and for how long).
• Requirements for remote image transfer (which cameras, how many cameras, picture quality, zooming, controllability of the camera via robotic arm).
• Whether or not the controlling the vehicle will be done wirelessly or via wired remote control.

Plans also call for a second mechanical arm, which will be used for carrying detection-identification instruments; carrying high-resolution cameras; carrying extra tools like gas welding apparatus; and performing delicate mechanical tasks such as taking samples, closing and opening valves, and collecting objects from the ground.

Plans also call for the system to be capable of radiological-chemical decontamination as well as the ability to tow additional dedicated trailers and resistance to integral gamma-neutron radiation for existing electronic components.

Future vehicle concepts include reconaissance-working-firefighting vehicles for military police tasks, nuclear accidents, and chemical accidents.

SINISA JEMBRIH is a captain in the Zagreb (Croatia) Fire Department with 16 years of service and a university degree in fire science. As captain, he is in charge of the wildfire response unit. He is also a journalist and photographer for a Croatian firefighting magazine and several international magazines. His particular interests in the fire service are rope rescue and fire behavior, training, which he brought to Croatia.