The LAFD just hired Americas first firefighting robot

As you might have guessed, the LAFD is pretty excited about its new tool. “It may make us rethink some of the ways we tackle fires when it’s available,” Ralph Terrazas, the chief of the LAFD, told The Los Angeles Times.

The RS3 has already seen action on the field. On Tuesday, the fire department diverted the robot from a demonstration near Dodger Stadium to fight 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.  

If the RS3 looks more like a tank than any equipment your local fire department owns, it’s because it adapts a design the US army used to disarm improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s made by the same company that’s behind the Ripaw super tank. At $272,000 per unit, the RS3 isn’t exactly affordable, and the LAFD wants to put it through its paces before it decides whether to buy more.