Robotics

United States' first firefighting robot tackles a building fire in LA

United States' first firefight...
The US' first firefighting robot, the Thermite RS3
The US' first firefighting robot, the Thermite RS3
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The US' first firefighting robot, the Thermite RS3
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The US' first firefighting robot, the Thermite RS3
The Thermite RS3 is produced by Maine-based robotics firm Textron: Howe & Howe Technologies
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The Thermite RS3 is produced by Maine-based robotics firm Textron: Howe & Howe Technologies

The Los Angeles Fire Department has welcomed aboard a new member of the team, rolling out a robotic firefighter for its first day of service. The Thermite RS3 is a remote-controlled rover capable of pumping out thousands of gallons of water a minute, with these capabilities tested on its very first day on the job.

The Thermite RS3 is produced by Maine-based robotics firm Textron: Howe & Howe Technologies and is a 3,500-lb (1,600-kg) industrial robot capable of trundling along at eight mph (12.9 km). It is powered by a 36-hp diesel engine and offers 20 hours of operation on each tank, with a plow blade attached to the front should obstacles, such as cars, need to be cleared from its path.

The Thermite RS3 is produced by Maine-based robotics firm Textron: Howe & Howe Technologies
The Thermite RS3 is produced by Maine-based robotics firm Textron: Howe & Howe Technologies

Using a hose that stretches 300 ft (91-m) horizontally or 150 ft (45 m) vertically, the Thermite RS3 is built to douse flames via a nozzle that allows for 2,500 gallons (9,500 L) of water to flow per minute. Operators control the robot remotely using a belly-pack controller, which relays a HD video stream for guidance. You can get a look at this perspective below.

Thermite™ - Firefighting Robot

LA’s Fire Department officially introduced the Thermite RS3 at a press conference on Tuesday, but note that the machine had already been put to work that morning helping put out a commercial fire. The robot is carried to scenes such as this in a dedicated trailer, with the members of the fire department now trained in how to handle it.

The department notes that the robot won’t be suited to all kinds of tasks, but does hope to put it to use on fires in large commercial buildings, wood-framed construction sites, wildfires, animal rescues, and fuel tanker fires, to list a few examples.

The video below offers a look at the robot after being towed out for its first day on the job.

RS3: Robotic Firefighting Vehicle

Source: Los Angeles Fire Department

3 comments
paul314
Really wish they hadn't used that for the bot's name. Non-robotic thermite is a mixture that lights easily and can burn through steel and concrete.
a.l.
“ The department notes that the robot won’t be suited to all kinds of tasks...”

Meaning that it’s not yet at the state of sophistication where it can rescue kittens caught in trees.
MQ
Come on: there is little revolutionary here - at least the blower could be on a high reach articulated arm - hiab-like or telehandler... for high level access *egress even as a dual use structire - lets say 20m minimum height. - fairly simple to stick a "snowblower" on any piece of mobile kit - kudos to H&H for getting this out there - Kudos to LAFD for thinking outside the normal tower truck philosophy, small steps - stick the blower on a high access tracked telehandler (or tower truck / concrete pumper for really revolutionary performance ) - I give that one out for free. - you can even call it a robot if that sounds more "high tech" lol.,