Sentinels of Safety: Seoul's Robotic Guardians

Seoul pioneers a safety initiative deploying fire-detection robots across traditional markets. These 110-centimeter tall, 85-kilogram
RobotsImage Source: Koreas Joong Daily


Seoul pioneers a safety initiative deploying fire-detection robots across traditional markets. These 110-centimeter tall, 85-kilogram behemoths armed with thermal cameras and fire extinguishing capabilities patrol from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., scanning for fire risks. They recharge for 3 hours and operate for 8, embodying Seoul's commitment to round-the-clock market safety.


Seoul has initiated an innovative safety program deploying fire detection robots across its traditional markets. This pioneering move by the Seoul Metropolitan Government involves dispatching specialized patrol robots to four key markets: Gwangjang in Jongno District, Majang Livestock Market in Seongdong District, Namguro Market in Guro District, and Kkachisan Market in Gangseo District.

Part of a pilot program, these fire patrol robots work diligently from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. – a crucial window when market activities cease – diligently monitoring fire safety risks, including temperature fluctuations and smoke detection.

During daylight hours, these robust robots recharge at dedicated booths within the market. Following a 3-hour recharge, they operate efficiently for 8 hours, ensuring uninterrupted surveillance.

Measuring 110 centimeters tall and weighing 85 kilograms, these robots boast impressive capabilities. Sporting a 360-degree rotating head, their left eye houses a thermal imaging camera, while the right eye contains a video recording camera. Equipped with shape recognition technology, the video camera adeptly detects flames and smoke, with onboard fire extinguishing powder to combat initial fire outbreaks.

These vigilant robots maintain an average speed of 3 to 5 kilometers per hour, capable of escalating to 5 kilometers per hour in emergency situations. Upon fire detection, they promptly alert the 119 emergency hotline, swiftly acting as the first responders.

Their intervention involves dispensing dry powder from their heads, aiding in initial fire suppression, while also analyzing and guiding people toward the safest exit routes during emergencies.

Mayor Oh Se-hoon expressed optimism regarding these fire patrol robots, emphasizing their role in fortifying the safety of Seoul's citizens. He attended a demonstration of these robots at Namgu-ro Market, applauding the commitment to leveraging technology and innovation for the perpetual safety of traditional markets.

Over the past five years, Seoul's traditional markets witnessed 140 fires, resulting in property damages exceeding $58 million and 10 casualties, as reported by the Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Headquarters.


Seoul's pioneering initiative employing fire patrol robots stands as a beacon of innovation, showcasing the city's dedication to 24/7 market safety. These vigilant guardians epitomize the fusion of technology and safety measures, underscoring Seoul's commitment to safeguarding its traditional markets.

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