The Austin Fire Department is excited to embark on a pilot project together with leaders in research and innovation to explore the feasibility of the use of robotics in real-time emergency incident management. Our goal is to ultimately enhance firefighter safety and the effectiveness of the emergency response capabilities we provide to our citizens.

If you own a drone, please review our Information Sheet!

The department has supported the development of the first fire department robotics program in the country, called the Robotic Emergency Deployment (RED) Team. Our team has begun testing the the current generation of air, ground, and maritime robotic platforms with the goal of establishing an industry standard for what will be the first generation of rescue-specific robotics. Working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), we are helping to develop the International Standard Test Methods for Response Robots that measure both robot and operator capabilities.

The Austin Fire Department is proud to be the first major metropolitan department in the country to obtain authorization to operate Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the national airspace. This Certificate of Authorization (COA) is granted by the Federal Aviation Administration and is required of any public safety organization operating UAS as part of an emergency response. The dedication required to obtain this COA is a reflection of the RED Team’s commitment to excellence. We envision this technology being applied in various scenarios, including: Wildfire Mitigation Flood Response, High-Rise and Commercial Fires, Hazardous Material Mitigation, Search and Rescue, Structure Collapse, and Confined Space Rescue, Pre-Incident Fire Planning, Post-Incident Fire Review, and Creating Communication Networks during disaster response.


Assistant Chief Richard Davis was in Galveston on May 3, 2016 to accept the Lone Star Achievement Award from the Texas Fire Chiefs' Association. The honor was presented in recognition of the AFD's work in establishing an innovative and progressive program (the Robotics Emergency Deployment {RED} Team) that enhances a community’s fire and life safety service delivery.