Fire-fighting Drones?!

3689490079?profile=originalHello all, I am a newbie from Christchurch, New Zealand (born in UK though). A few years ago (well, quite a few), I was very much into my Electronics & R/C - just for fun & challenge etc. I would often think that a drone could be a useful addition to the fire service, in order to help quench a raging forest fire etc! Now I see the UAV has really 'taken off'! I havn't been even close to R/C or my hobby, Electronics, for about 20 years due to my various disabilities,

But a drone could easily be programmed to refresh its water payload at a close lake or at sea etc. Many such drones could be utilised for a team of them to really help douse a fire? Technology has really made many quantum leaps & is getting faster & faster, so fast that we are dragging the chain in the ideas department to utilise this rapid growth. All's I mean by that, is often I see an outdated system or device that could easily benifit from modern aid.

It seems that unless there is a $ to be made, people are not that interested in helping other people that could really use some decent help from some decent people! I  can see some non combat UAVs being put to a good use (as seen in many videos) & so I think that you guys are the ones that can engineer such a system (a fire UAV) & do it for common good & technical challenge etc (enormous, but with technology & brains, some  AI  ...)! I guess you & your experiences in UAV, GPS, IR heat sensors and some very clever inginuity, may be able to flex your UAV muscles & make it all work!

I hope I havn't stood on anyones toes here, if I did, it was not intentional! I jusat hope spmeone may see the points that I am trying to make & share their interesting hobby & clever techniques with the rest of the world that is not aware of such efforts & achievments you are each doing, one way or another.

Thanks for allowing me to even get close to the real brains of the world! Enjoy your day, see ya!



[Image added by moderators. Source]

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Only @ Sea Level. above Sea Level water's weight decreases.

    (not enough to be relevant but still)

  • Silly mericans. 1 litre of water weighs exactly 1 kilogram...silly pounds and gallons

  • Helitrasher, yep you could be right there!  If we could warm a needle, they might find it in the haystack! Haha, but seriously, that technolgy could do the job very nicely & yes, your right, it may well exist already. Thats a brilliant idea, of spotting a potential fire, before it flares up! Since that technology may not exist or be available to us plebs, your first idea of a drone may be a good second bes & the only readily available optiont? It could very well be of interest by SAR & Police too  (using IR to detect passive body heat, PIR, as in a motion detector in most home alarms), if simple enough to deploy?

    Best regards,




  • It is very possible that "THE" goverment can see the heat signiture of a butterfly on a hot day in every part of the world it wants !

  • Helitrasher, Its funny you should say about looking for hotspots, before they break out into fires! I often wonder if Satalite existing technology, coud be useed for this purpose?! I dont know enough about communications with satelites, or if they have on board IR equipment?! I am sure somenoe will know?! Great idea, thanks.


    See ya.



  • Paul, Thanks for that,  Were on a similar track & they are very stable. That "toy" idea, could probably be used on some diy drones, for improved stability too. Who knows, the KISS theory may be able to be used as a 'scaled' up idea for a demo drone?!

    Josh, thats a good idea, sounds like the peanuts could be comming! Sorry Randy, just a  joke & who cares what others think, your ideas are all valuable & you may just see it develope on TV one day! But seriously, I am not sure how effective they are for outdoor areas like bush fires? No doubt the Fire Departments have experimented with that?!  Yes, a ground rover Fire-fighting,  large scale, with a tower gun for water spray or hose etc, has possibillities, as I mentioneed in an earlier reply (only telling you that, just in case you wanted to look it up)! I was thinking more bush than in built up areas, I guess the drones would have to circle in a loop (a fleet of them) & the job of connecting up to the 5" pipe wouldnt be there. Using IR or similar, you could aim the guns directly at the hot spots too. I guess the drone may have to be 'led' to the fire to keep it simple, or a car could drive in front & set the waypoints (not sure if thats what is meant for drones to follow, like a string of invisable cones?!) That way, the 'leader car' can drive around obsticles & show the drones where to go until they get there, then the drone should have IR targets in close range & they can go auto , do its job & then follow the next set of waypoints, back to base & refill etc. This would help keep the cost & complexity down.Again, great ideas thanks Josh & Randy.

    Edwin, Wow, right here under my nose & yep, the uni is just a few minutes away!  Obviously various people, companies, even Uni's are developing along similar lines & thats great, cant have too many of these ideas on the go, can we? I must admit, I havnt seen much news footage regarding all this work being done & its always a helicopter & bucket, that I do seen on the news when large fires are shown on TV, So Why, any ideas? Do you see anything much other than helicopters & buckets? I guess thats why I suggested the idea, to start with, not knowing its already making steps in that direction, again good stuff. Perhaps cost, relibility & the actual people that choose to send in the buckets (in most, if not all cases), dont have a drone fleet or the demo , on the list of options currently available, right now, ready to go, on the list?! Enjoy your day Edwin & thank you.

    Joshua Ott, now thats a whoppa! There must be quite a few of thesen helicopter cranes in service, but again, I  have never seen them on the news?! However, this may well show up the cost problem, as it must cost a fortune to send one of these out & buy them to start with. They certainly seem to do the job though. I have to wonder if the costy of reliable drones Vs the current cost (not even to mention the cost of these huge crane birds!) could be offset with modern technology & simpicity? The crane birds sure are nice, but extremely complex & I would probably freeze, if I saw the bill, for a mission! Good stuff though.

    Best regards & enjoy the day.


    Thanks again for everybodies comments. I suppose that speed, reliability, cost, simpicity (ease of deployment),versitality & payload etc are all important factors that must be considered, before a suitable drone demo could be realised. Drones should be able to get in closer & be more accurate, as well as not endangering any lives ( nor expending) .Since such bodies (companies, University etc) are well onto this area, I will bow out & hope to see them soon on TV! I dont watch TV much, but I do try to catch the news! Thanks again for all your comments,

    Enjoy everyday, like theres no tomorrow as one day, you may just wake up dead!!  Its too late then. If you enjoy helping others (not hurting) then it will be a win win situation! The best things in life, are free, 'ain't that the truth'?!

    See ya,




  • And perhaps small explosives could be used for the fire control (and maybe for the fire source also)

  • How about drones just flying around the dry areas recording any heat or movement before it turns into a fire, and of course for catching the guilty firestarter !

  • My favorite helicopter-

    APM can control this soon...

  • Some preliminary work looking into the types of fire fighting solutions which many people are proposing here has already been done at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch (probably 'just down the road' from Ricky): there is no shortage of this kind of work going on!

This reply was deleted.