The First Firefighting Robot in America

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Fire Department became the first city in the country to add a firefighting robot to their ranks, and it has already proven itself on the front lines. Weighing about 3,500 pounds, the Thermite Robotic Systems 3 firefighting vehicle — RS3 for short — is capable of deploying about 2,500 gallons of water per minute. The vehicle, which can be controlled by a handheld remote from a safe distance, is also equipped with a high-definition video stream so the operator can easily maneuver the robot through difficult conditions in the field. Although the RS3 is about the same size as a Smart car, it's small enough to fit through a set of double doors, while also being strong enough to plow its way through a wall should the need arise. Prior to the RS3 being unveiled to the public, it had been deployed alongside 130 human firefighters to help extinguish a major emergency commercial fire in downtown Los Angeles. Despite the severity of the blaze forcing firefighters to withdraw from the two buildings and use their hoses from the outside, the RS3 was able to continue onward and unleash its water cannon from the inside.