On April 15 the world looked on in horror as the Notre Dame Cathedral became engulfed in flames. The building’s unique structure made it almost impossible for the Paris Fire Brigade to contain the blaze. Along with using all available resources, officials also brought in a powerful fire fighting robot to help save the 856-year-old cathedral.
Meet Colossus. It’s a robot that was extinguishing flames and clearing debris in the most dangerous areas of the cathedral. Designed by French company Shark Robotics, it looks like a cross between a fire truck and an army tank. Along with being heat resistant, it’s massive hose can project water up to 850 feet. The all-terrain robot can go up and down stairs, through floods, and over mountains of debris so it can fight fires in the worst of environments.
Colossus Can Carry Equipment and Detect Hazardous Chemicals
Colossus stands 2 and a half feet tall while weighing about 1000 pounds. Along with putting out fires, the robot can also carry up to 2000 pounds of equipment or injured persons if need be.
It’s not just about power. The fire fighting robot’s 360° and thermal cameras allow it to collect data and images. NRBC sensors can even alert firefighters if there are hazardous chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear materials in the area.
Colossus can be remotely piloted or operate autonomously up to 12 hours. Depending on options, the robot can cost between $150,000 to $225,000.
Fire Fighting Robot Helped Save Lives
“The main reason we started working with the Paris Fire Brigade—and the main advantage of this robot in particular—is avoiding injury to human firefighters and victims. That has been our focus from the very beginning. Beyond that, there is the added benefit of the kinds of techniques that a robot can use that would be much harder for humans—things that require transporting heavy equipment or moving through very dangerous areas,“ said Cyril Kabbara, co-founder of Shark Robotics.
By the morning of April 16, the fire at the historic cathedral was completely extinguished. While the giant spire and roof did collapse, no human lives were lost. This was in part thanks to Colossus. The fire fighting robot was able to enter areas that may have caused injury to the human firefighters.
Check out our article on some other fire fighting robots.