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Robots to save the day during emergencies

Remote controlled robots have been showing how the latest technology in fire and rescue can help save lives, alongside vintage fire engines.

According to a recent report, emergency robots were at the front and centre during the recent Australasian Fire and Emergency Council annual convention (AFAC), which was held in Perth.

Since lighting fires are not allowed inside the Perth Convention Centre, the robots were not able to show the full range of their skills.

Instead, the firefighting and scouting robot was able to navigate a pile of fallen logs with ease.

The robot was not intended to replace human firefighters, but it gets into the places that are considered unsafe for humans.

The robots were manufactured by a Chinese company after an incident at the port of Tianjin in 2015. A chemical explosion occurred wherein a lot of the firefighters and emergency crew went into the unknown.

One hundred and seventy-five people died in the Tianjin chemical explosions, and more than 900 were injured.

Looking like a small tank, the robot weighs 520 kilograms and runs on a battery. It has rubber track wheels, a hose instead of a gun and a camera mounted on the top for the operator to see.

Similar to how a remote control car works, the robot is a very simple platform to operate.

The robot will not melt in a fire thanks to its rubber tracks that have integrated metal inside to help stability. The rubber is graded to last up to 400C.

Most of Australia’s bushfires and chemicals fires would go up to 800C so when the rubber is melted, the integrated metal inside will support the whole chassis and the structure, and it will be able to keep on going.

There is also a water curtain fitted and with detection of certain temperatures, it will be used to cool down the robot itself.

The robots have yet to be introduced into the Australian firefighting arsenal, but the distributors are keen to see it used in action.

When looking at bushfires or factories with chemicals, it is very difficult for humans to be able to go into those environments. In getting rid of the fire, no one wants to have any fatalities.

Also rolling around the exhibition hall were remote control demolition robots, operated with great enjoyment.

The small crane-like robot, which has wheels and hydraulically operated ‘feet’ to stand up on, uses its claw to snap pieces of steel. It has been designed for use during earthquakes and when building collapses.

If a building was in danger of collapsing due to an earthquake, the robot can be sent in to clear the rubble, break stuff out of the way, cut steel if needed, and make a pathway for the rescue guys to come in.

If ever the whole building will collapse on the robot, the robot can be driven out, depending on the damage. It will dig its way out.

The beauty about it is the safety. No humans are sitting on the machines.

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