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Robotics Technology

London's Robotic Fire Brigade 82

dustpan writes "The BBC has a story up about a quartet of robotic fire fighters that the London Fire Brigade is testing and with which have been achieving 'tremendous results.' The robots were developed by QinetiQ, which is a defense contractor. The LFB has been testing the units since last year and the machines are primarily used in fires involving acetylene canisters. The group commander for hazardous materials and environmental protection with the LFB says that the robots have cut the time to resolve these potential hazards from 24 hours to 3. From the article: 'Three years ago we were shutting down parts of London for over 24 hours every other week. Now it doesn't even make the news.'"
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London's Robotic Fire Brigade

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:33PM (#28860085)

    I fucked his ass last night but I couldn't feel anything and he kept pooping on me.

  • by Biljrat ( 45007 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:45PM (#28860195) Homepage

    they have a robotic fire brigade pipe band.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:52PM (#28860257)

    until you get crazed fireman robots with fire axes and that are on fire.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:59PM (#28860341) Homepage

    Now all they have to do is make sure they don't flip the switch on the robots' backs from "fight" to "cause".

  • by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <.ua.moc.acitamotua. .ta. .iak.> on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:03PM (#28860359) Homepage

    I, for one, welcome our new Robotic Firefighting Overlords...

  • by weirdo557 ( 959623 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:13PM (#28860425)
    in other news, massive outbreaks of fire could have been prevented by diodes. more news at 11
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:43PM (#28860647) Homepage Journal

    Anyway, real Daleks don't climb stairs, they just level the building.

    All you have to do is wait then. The acetylene will do that for you.

  • Trumpton (Score:3, Funny)

    by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:55PM (#28860719)
    Nothing new here. Trumpton had artificial firemen in the 60s. See! []
  • by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @08:10PM (#28860787)
    Directive: Prevent Fires + most fires caused by arson = "Kill all humans!"
  • Marvin stood at the end of the bridge corridor. He was not in fact a particularly small robot. His
    silver body gleamed in the dusty sunbeams and shook with the continual barrage which the building
    was still undergoing.
    He did, however, look pitifully small as the gigantic black tank rolled to a halt in front of him. The
    tank examined him with a probe. The probe withdrew.
    Marvin stood there.
    "Out of my way little robot," growled the tank.
    "I'm afraid," said Marvin, "that I've been left here to stop you."
    The probe extended again for a quick recheck. It withdrew again.
    "You? Stop me?" roared the tank. "Go on!"
    "No, really I have," said Marvin simply.
    "What are you armed with?" roared the tank in disbelief.
    "Guess," said Marvin.
    The tank's engines rumbled, its gears ground. Molecule-sized electronic relays deep in its micro-
    brain flipped backwards and forwards in consternation.
    "Guess?" said the tank.


    "Yes, go on," said Marvin to the huge battle machine, "you'll never guess."
    "Errmmm ..." said the machine, vibrating with unaccustomed thought, "laser beams?"
    Marvin shook his head solemnly.
    "No," muttered the machine in its deep guttural rumble, "Too obvious. Anti-matter ray?" it
    "Far too obvious," admonished Marvin.
    "Yes," grumbled the machine, somewhat abashed, "Er ... how about an electron ram?"
    This was new to Marvin.
    "What's that?" he said.
    "One of these," said the machine with enthusiasm.
    From its turret emerged a sharp prong which spat a single lethal blaze of light. Behind Marvin a
    wall roared and collapsed as a heap of dust. The dust billowed briefly, then settled.
    "No," said Marvin, "not one of those."
    "Good though, isn't it?"
    "Very good," agreed Marvin.
    "I know," said the Frogstar battle machine, after another
    moment's consideration, "you must have one of those new Xanthic
    Re-Structron Destabilized Zenon Emitters!"

    "Nice, aren't they?" said Marvin.
    "That's what you've got?" said the machine in considerable awe.
    "No," said Marvin.
    "Oh," said the machine, disappointed, "then it must be ..."
    "You're thinking along the wrong lines," said Marvin, "You're failing to take into account
    something fairly basic in the relationship between men and robots."
    "Er, I know," said the battle machine, "is it ..." it tailed off into thought again.
    "Just think," urged Marvin, "they left me, an ordinary, menial robot, to stop you, a gigantic heavy-
    duty battle machine, whilst they ran off to save themselves. What do you think they would leave me
    "Oooh, er," muttered the machine in alarm, "something pretty damn devastating I should expect."
    "Expect!" said Marvin, "oh yes, expect. I'll tell you what they
    gave me to protect myself with shall I?"
    "Yes, alright," said the battle machine, bracing itself.
    "Nothing," said Marvin.
    There was a dangerous pause.
    "Nothing?" roared the battle machine.
    "Nothing at all," intoned Marvin dismally, "not an electronic sausage."
    The machine heaved about with fury.
    "Well, doesn't that just take the biscuit!" it roared, "Nothing, eh? Just don't think, do they?"
    "And me," said Marvin in a soft low voice, "with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left
    "Makes you spit, doesn't it?"
    "Yes," agreed Marvin with feeling.
    "Hell that makes me angry," bellowed the machine, "think I'll smash that wall down!"
    The electron ram stabbed out another searing blaze of light and took out the wall next to the
    "How do you think I feel?" said Marvin bitterly.
    "Just ran off and left you, did they?" the machine thundered.
    "Yes," said Marvin.
    "I think I'll shoot down their bloody ceiling as well!" raged the tank.
    It took out the ceiling of the bridge.
    "That's very impressive," murmured Marvin.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @01:59AM (#28862737) Journal
    "I weld as a hobby and in all the welding shops I've been in, in all the classes, I've never seen an acetylene tank go off. And with all the welders I've ever met in all those places, maybe one has ever seen a tank go off. Is it something with your gauges over there? The tank construction? Seems to happen a lot more there than it does here."

    I own a fridge, most people I know own or use a fridge, in the last 50yrs I have only ever seen one fridge explode and that was in a house fire. The firefighters at that fire told me exploding fridges are a common occurance, but what the hell do they know?
  • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:57AM (#28863329)
    I don't think the public, at least in the US, would be willing to accept a robot that could actually make its own decisions.

    Hold it right there, cowboy ... You elected Reagan and at least one of the two Bushes?

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard