FireNose on Mobile Robot in Harsh Environments

Yuxin Xing, Timothy A. Vincent, Han Fan, Erik Schaffernicht, Victor Hernandez Bennetts, Achim J. Lilienthal, Marina Cole, Julian W. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In this work we present a novel multi-sensor unit, a.k.a. FireNose, to detect and discriminate both known and unknown gases in uncontrolled conditions to aid firefighters under harsh conditions. The unit includes three metal oxide (MOX) gas sensors with CMOS micro heaters, a plasmonic enhanced non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensor optimized for the detection of CO2, a commercial temperature humidity sensor, and a flow sensor. We developed custom film coatings for the MOX sensors (SnO2, WO3 and NiO) which greatly improved the gas sensitivity, response time and lifetime of the miniature devices. Our proposed system exhibits promising performance for gas sensing in harsh environments, in terms of power consumption ( 35 mW at 350°C per MOX sensor), response time (< 10 s), robustness and physical size. The sensing unit was evaluated with plumes of gases in both, a laboratory setup on a gas testing rig and on-board a mobile robot operating indoors. These high sensitivity, high-bandwidth sensors, together with online unsupervised gas discrimination algorithms, are able to detect and generate their spatial distribution maps accordingly. In the robotic experiments, the resulting gas distribution maps corresponded well to the actual location of the sources. Therefore, we verified its ability to differentiate gases and generate gas maps in real-world experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8822727
Pages (from-to)12418-12431
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number24
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • FireNose
  • MOX sensor
  • gas map
  • harsh environment
  • mobile robot


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