The Los Angeles Fire Department welcomed a new member of the team, a robotic firefighter on board for his first day on duty. The Thermite RS3 is a remote-controlled rover capable of pumping out thousands of gallons of water per minute, and has just jumped into action.
Thermite RS3 is manufactured by the robotics company Textron. In fact it is a 1.600 kg industrial fire fighting robot capable of moving at a speed of 12,9 km per hour. It is powered by a 36hp diesel engine and offers 20 hours of operation on each tank, with a plow blade attached to the front in case obstacles, such as cars, need to be removed from its path.
How Thermite S3 works
Using a flexible hose that extends 300 feet (91 meters) horizontally or 150 feet (45 meters) vertically, the Thermite RS3 is built to extinguish flames via a nozzle that allows the flow of 2.500 gallons (9.500 liters) of water per minute. Operators control the robot remotely using a remote controller, which broadcasts an HD video stream as a guide.
Los Angeles firefighters officially unveiled the Thermite RS3 at a press conference on Tuesday, but the fire-fighting robot had already been put into operation that morning to help put out a fire in a shopping mall. The robot is transported into scenes like these in a dedicated trailer, with members of the fire brigade trained on how to handle it.
Fire fighting robot: not for everything, but for a long time
The department notes that the firefighting robot will not be suitable for all types of businesses, but it hopes to use it on fires in large commercial buildings, timber construction sites, forest fires, animal rescues and tanker fires.
The video below offers a summary of the use of the robot in the activities carried out in its first day of work.