IMC Newsdesk

EHang drones adapted to fight high-rise fires

  • August 24, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Chinese company EHang has developed an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) that can be used for fighting fires in high-rise buildings.
Based on its flagship product, this fire-fighting version of the EHang 216 drone is designed for high-rise fire fighting.
With hundreds of thousands of high-rise buildings in China, the company believes the EHang 216F can become essential equipment for thousands of fire stations across the country and eventually those around the world.
“We are pleased to introduce the EHang 216F AAV aerial fire-fighter, which solves difficult challenges in high-rise fire fighting,” said EHang’s 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. The potential of our intelligent AAV technology platform is boundless. We will explore and develop more aerial solutions and use cases to empower smart cities.”
The AAVs are expected to be deployed in urban fire stations to assist in fire fighting within a 5km radius. The autopilot and central management technologies enable a fleet of AAVs to be remotely dispatched for first response even before the fire fighters arrive. This shortens response time and can reduce casualties.
“Fire fighting and rescue is a race against death,” said Weiqiang Chen, head of a fire station in Yunfu. “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’s intelligent aerial fire-fighter can effectively solve difficult problems in fighting high-rise fires. This complements existing fire-fighting 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 50m, 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.
The intelligent aerial fire fighter can provide a better alternative for dealing with high-rise building fires. With fully equipped AAVs and the command-and-control system, this offers services including investigation, fire fighting, rescue and emergency management.
Accelerating urbanisation and building density are increasing fire hazards and creating more difficulties in fire fighting. According to a survey by China Fire Magazine, 233,000 fires were reported nationwide in 2019, among which 6974 cases happened in high-rise buildings. This was a year-on-year growth of 10.6%.