WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Smokey the Bear could soon be getting a robotic ally in his fight against fires, reports WTKR-TV.

The Navy has unveiled a prototype of a two-legged machine that can go where humans can’t in order to extinguish a blaze.

“We set out to build and demonstrate a humanoid capable of mobility aboard a ship, manipulating doors and fire hoses, and equipped with sensors to see and navigate through smoke,” said Dr. Thomas McKenna with the Office of Naval Research.

In a demonstration, Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) walked across uneven floors, used thermal imaging to identify an overheated compartment and finally employed a hose to put out the fire.

The robot was developed in collaboration with Virginia Tech.

“This robot, you’ll be able to send it into dangerous situations without having to send a sailor in there first,” explained Virginia Tech graduate assistant John Seminatore.

The Navy hopes SAFFiR will make putting out shipboard fires safer and easier.

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