Mumbai to get first fire-fighting robot in India, BMC floats tender

Mumbai to get first fire-fighting robot in India, BMC floats tender
Visuals from the demonstration carried out in 2016 (Representational Image, Courtesy: Shyam Agrawal)

Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) is set to acquire its first fire-fighting robot, which will be capable of streaming real-time footage from the source of the fire and bring the blaze under control.

The BMC issued tenders for the procurement, commissioning, and testing of the fire-fighting robot, along with its carrying vehicle on Tuesday. The robot is expected to become operational by August.

The robot, which is expected to cost Rs 1.2 crore, will allow fire fighters to remotely guide it to the source of the fire and douse it without putting any firemen in harm’s way. It is fitted with a thermal camera capable of detecting fires during day and night.

The robot, officials say, is capable of spraying water up to 55 metres (approximately 30-storeys high), and is made up of aluminium sheets which can withstand temperatures of up to 700 centigrade.

In addition, the robot can reportedly release 3,800 litres of water every minute, travel at a speed of 3.5 km and relay live feed to the operator over 300 metres away.

According to officials, the robot will come in handy while tackling fires where firemen can’t reach due to high temperatures, radiation or thick smoke cover – especially in areas like basements, landfills or with narrow approach roads.

“The robot will come in handy as it will be able to douse the fire and transmit live feed of the fire despite smoke,” said MFB chief fire officer, Prabhat Rahangdale.

Although one robot is far from adequate to cater to the needs of a city like Mumbai, Rahangdale assured that more robots will be ordered if the implementation of the first one is successful.

Once procured, Mumbai will be the first city in the country to deploy fight fighting robots.

Incidentally, the provision for the purchase of the unmanned fire extinguishers was made in the BMC budget of 2016-17 after four fire officials lost their lives while dousing a major fire at Kalbadevi’s Gokul Nivas building in May, 2015.

Although demonstrations were first carried in December 2015, no order was placed. Subsequent demonstrations were made at the MFB headquarters at Byculla in September 2016 and over the last 6 months by leading firms from U.S., China, Germany, and Israel.

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