Australia’s remote controlled firedozer quenches first blaze

We already know that robots will soon be able to deliver groceries, and work in factories, hotels and building sites, but now they can fight fires as well.

The remote-controlled robot fire extinguisher was announced by the government of New South Wales on 10 December, and has already been in action at a fire in the Sydney area.

David Elliott, the minister for emergency services, said: "This puts New South Wales firefighters ahead of the game when it comes to managing hazardous fires and other emergencies where firefighters cannot safely approach the flames, for example when there is a danger of explosion.

"We saw how effective the TAF 20 was last week at a Botany factory fire in Sydney, and it will be of great use for our firefighters in battling other large and complex fires, including bushfires."

The TAF 20 (turbine-aided firefighting) machine can move cars out of the way with its bulldozer blade, clear smoke from a building with a high-powered fan, spray water mist or foam for 60m and blast water for 90m.

The US$220,000 robot can be operated up to 500m from the site of the blaze and is intended to be sent into situations where it is too dangerous for humans to go.

The TAF 20 will be based in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria and can be deployed to incidents across the state by road or air.

It was announced in November this year that Dubai firefighters may use jetpacks to help tackle blazes.

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