Honda designs an autonomous ATV to carry equipment for wildland firefighters

Honda Autonomous firefighter vehicle
Screengrab from the video

In the fall of 2018, the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting (CoE), along with wildland firefighters from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) worked with Honda in testing their Autonomous Work Vehicle in wildland firefighting support scenarios.

Located at the site of the Lake Christine fire, a destructive wildfire that took place the summer of 2018 in Eagle County, Colorado- CoE, DFPC and Honda tested the work vehicles using realistic scenarios that occur during a wildfire. The team focused on utilizing the vehicle to support wildland operations with the goal of enhancing safety and effectiveness. Three missions were tested including initial attack support for dismounted firefighters, support of active fireline development, and autonomous deployment of a communications repeater to a remote site.  This evaluation was performed at the Lake Christine fire site after the fire was fully contained and controlled. The initial results of the tests were promising and the CoE looks forward to working with Honda to further this mission.

Honda debuted the vehicle at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.  At CES 2019, this week, Honda and the CoE are sharing some results of that testing. While further development is required before the device can be used on active wildfires, the potential of an autonomous vehicle is clear.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

4 thoughts on “Honda designs an autonomous ATV to carry equipment for wildland firefighters”

  1. Having been a wildland firefighter and a scientist sampling smoke on the ground (and in the air) around the world some thoughts come to mind.
    Experimenting with ideal dimensions to fit between trees more often, but not tip over. Maybe offer different sizes. Make it lightweight as possible for its size so it can be carried when needed. Our rolling off-road lab measured up to a 100 gases and collects filters, but we have to carry it over logs, ditches, or soft ground/deep ashes. (http://hs.umt.edu/chemistry/documents/yokelson/album_TROFFEE/Ground-based/index.html)
    And there is also the “walking car” under development at Hyundai: https://www.nbcnews.com/video/hyundai-shows-off-walking-car-concept-at-ces-in-las-vegas-1421896771644

  2. Wow, I like it and I am sure it will be a big help to wildland firefighters. I am a hiker and I totally understand how hard it is to carry a heavy load and going uphill.

  3. this design might work on flat even ground or on a trail. this machine is loaded very top heavy and does not look like it would work in rough, rocky, forested, uneven ground conditions.

  4. I remember when we had to carry our own stuff, drop it off, then go back and get more stuff. I hope we don’t get to the point where that isn’t part of the job any more.

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