The K-MAX helicopters, belonging to Lockheed Martin and Kaman, have long been renowned for their use in transporting cargo in Afghanistan. However, these helicopters are being refashioned in autonomous form for use as firefighting tools.
Indeed the two companies have shown that an autonomous K-MAX helicopter can be used for firefighting. The helicopters are capable of performing a wide array of tasks including scooping up water and dropping it on burning targets to stop them from burning.
The helicopters are well capable of being controlled remotely but can also fly completely on their own as long as they have been pre-programmed with a route and a pre-decided destination.
Ultimately, the autonomous K-MAX helicopters promise quicker and more efficient firefighting while reducing the number of firefighters being placed at risk.