Australia’s first fire-fighting robot TAF 20 unveiled

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A fire-fighting robot that can sweep away obstacles and clear smoke from burning buildings is the latest weapon being used to fight fires in Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state.

NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliot and Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins unveiled the country’s first remote-controlled firefighting robot, the Turbine Aided Firefighting machine (TAF 20) on Thursday, ABC reported.

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The TAF 20 has bulldozer blades capable of moving cars out of the way and a high-powered fan to blow away smoke.

It can also spray water mist or foam from 60 metres and blast water for 90 metres.

The robot will be based at Alexandria in inner Sydney and can be quickly deployed by road or air to where it is needed, Commissioner Mullins said.

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“It can be remotely operated up to 500 metres away and sent into situations where it is too dangerous for firefighters, which is a huge advantage as the safety of firefighters is my highest priority,” he said.

The robot costs 310,000 Australian dollars (about $226,248) and was made and imported from Germany.

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There is already one in use in Germany and one in Mexico.

It was put to the test last week at a Botany factory fire in Sydney, where Elliot said it proved its effectiveness.

“It will be of great use for our firefighters in battling other large and complex fires, including bushfires,” Elliot added.

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