The Los Angeles Fire Department became the first in the US to deploy a “robotic firefighting vehicle”.
The LAFD’s Thermite RS3 weighs in at 3,500 pounds and is about the size of a Smart car but has the power to blast its way through a wall.
The robot has a cannon that can discharge 2,500 gallons of water or foam per minute and align itself vertically to function as a sprinkler. It’s operated remotely and can go for 20 hours without refueling. On Tuesday, the fire department debuted the robot at a fire that engulfed two Fashion District buildings in the city’s downtown core. It worked with more than 130 human firefighters to put out the blaze, helping to clear debris inside the building where the fire broke out.
The RS3 isn’t exactly cheap, costing $272,000 per unit. Despite the LAFD’s excitement, they want to continue testing the robot out at real fires before deciding to buy any more.