Robot helpers are becoming a common sight in our daily lives, with devices like Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot or Alphabets crop-sniffing plant buggy already being used by a number of companies and organizations around the world.
Now it looks like another robot can be added to that list, with the Los Angeles Fire Department becoming the first fire department in the US to make use of fire fighting robots. The ‘Thermite RS3’ is a 1500kg, car-sized robot small enough to fit on a trailer for quick deployment, and can fit through a double set of doors. In the event of a fire taking place in a building with a single doorway, the Thermite RS3 is able to blast its way through a wall in true Terminator fashion.
Today, the @lafd unveiled the RS3 firefighting robot – a force multiplier that can be used in a variety of large-scale scenarios like commercial fires, hazmat incidents, and oil refinery fires.🤖
THANK YOU🙌to the Tides Foundation and the Musk Foundation for making this happen! pic.twitter.com/XOaplgHU2t
— LAFD Foundation (@LAFDFoundation) October 14, 2020
The robot also features sturdy tracks that allow its to ascend up 70-degree slopes and has a water cannon that can discharge up to 9400 liters of either water or foam per minute, according to reports from the LA Times. It can also align its water cannon vertically to be used as a sprinkler for wide-spread fires. Best of all, the Thermite RS3 can be remotely operated for up to 20 hours without having to stop for a refuel.
The Thermite RS3 has already been put to use by the LAFD. On Tuesday, the robot was used to assist more than 130 humans in putting out a blaze that engulfed two Fashion District buildings. The robot firefighter was used to enter and clear dangerous debris inside the building where the fire broke out.
Take a look at the Thermite RS3 arriving on the scene below:
The Thermite RS3 doesn’t come cheap though, costing around R4.5 million, which explains why the LAFD first wants to put it through its paces before placing an order for another one. The Thermite RS3 is made by Howe & Howe Technologies, the same company that made the Ripaw super tank, the world’s first consumer-based luxury high-performance dual tracked vehicle or super tank.