Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2024

Firefighting took a step into the future this week when the Los Angeles Fire Department became the first in the US to deploy a “robotic firefighting vehicle”. Weighing in at 3,500 pounds, LAFD’s Thermite RS3 is about the size of a Smart car but has the power to blast its way through a wall.

As reported in Engadget, the robot features 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.  

While the LAFD is very excited about its new tool, the RS3 isn’t exactly cheap, costing $272,000 per unit. That’s why the fire department wants to continue testing the robot out at real fires before it decides to buy any more.

Image source: Hans Gutknecht/The Orange County Register via AP

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