Meet the firefighting robots that can battle blazes too dangerous for humans


Forget Robocop — California now has a robo-firefighter.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has become the first in the US to buy a robot that can battle blazes in areas too dangerous for human smoke eaters — and has already put it into active duty.

The department unveiled its bright-yellow colored Robotics Systems 3 (RS3), calling it a “game-changer” for the force in the wildfire-raved Golden State.

And it already showed its mettle Tuesday, heading into a warehouse inferno that was so dangerous 130 of its human colleagues had to be pulled back to safety, the Los Angeles Times said.

“I can afford to lose one of these wonderful machines, I cannot afford to lose a firefighter,” LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas told the paper of his new droid recruit.

The Smart-car sized machine is capable of blasting 2,500 gallons of water or foam per minute — enough power to knock someone off their feet.

The LAFD firefighter robot.Hans Gutknecht/The Orange County Register via AP

“You can turn the water cannon vertical and turn it into its own sprinkler system,” Terrazas told the LA Times. “It may make us rethink some of the ways we tackle fires when it’s available.”

The reports suggested RS3’s main uses would be in urban disasters, with no mention of it helping tackle the wildfires.

While LA is the first fire department to buy one, the RS3 is patterned after US Army robots that have been used in Iraq and Afghanistan, often used to destroy improvised explosive devices. Like those machines, it is built by Howe and Howe Technologies.

“This is our first step in bringing these life-saving capabilities to firefighters across the United States,” said the company’s senior vice president, Geoff Howe.