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An innovative, fully automated, intelligent vehicle fire and smoke detection and extinguishing system for buses/coaches

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An intelligent control system to protect buses from smoke and fire

Most buses and coaches in the EU do not have any kind of fire protection system. An EU initiative set out to reverse this trend by developing a predictive detection and extinguishing system.

Industrial Technologies

Across the EU Member States, operational buses and coaches number upwards of 700,000 – of which until recently only about 25 % had some kind of fire protection system. Researchers on the project VULCAN (An innovative, fully automated, intelligent vehicle fire and smoke detection and extinguishing system for buses/coaches) envisioned and delivered a fully automated, intelligent, fixed installation, vehicle fire and smoke detection and extinguishing system. The overarching aim was to deliver a system that can give an appropriate response to the particular circumstances of the smoke or fire situation in order to reduce on-board fires and increase passenger safety. The project's automatic fire detection and suppression system (AFDSS) makes use of a smoke detector and a heat detector. Connected to the engine compartment, the smoke detector boasts a response time of less than 20 seconds and signals smoke or a fire outbreak. The heat detector alerts to engine compartment temperatures in excess of 180 °C. Partners developed a protective housing and filter system. Testing proved it can stave off all contamination and ensure the smoke sensor's reliable operation. In the absence of a vehicle driver, the comprehensive intelligent control system can automatically activate the extinguishing process within 72 hours. Furthermore, this can be done without extra power supply as the AFDSS operates on a built in back-up battery. The fire extinguishing system comprises piping, nozzles and an agent tank – all optimally designed for safe operating conditions and savings with regard to system dimensions. VULCAN's nozzle design represents an important breakthrough, enabling a combination of mist and spray of extinguishing agent rather than spraying alone. The developed lightweight agent tank can be fixed to the vehicle structure with just two screws and fixing clamps. It can also be easily scaled for different vehicles with different engine compartment sizes. A service interface software tool was also developed for after installation and also maintenance purposes. It includes an activity log for viewing different events and system states with date and time. Another target market for the AFDSS is heavy duty vehicles. One renowned automaker has already expressed interest in the system on its wheel loaders. VULCAN's AFDSS significantly reduces chances of operator error and eliminates delays in response to smoke and fire. As such, the system offers overall safer services and lower risk of property damages and lost productivity.

Keywords

Intelligent control system, VULCAN, buses, smoke, fire, extinguishing system, vehicle fire, smoke detection

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