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Notre Dame Cathedral blaze fought with a firefighting robot and drones

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Paris firefighters used drones and a water-spitting robot to help tame the Notre Dame Cathedral fire.
USA TODAY

Putting out Monday’s fire at the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was a joint effort between hundreds of firefighters, emergency personnel and modern technology.

Parisian firefighters used a combination of robots and drones to see, track and contain the blaze that ravaged the 800-year-old cathedral’s roof, spire and stained glass windows.

One instrumental player was Colossus, a water firing robot that was deployed to quell the flames from inside the smoldering Gothic cathedral after firefighters were forced to evacuate certain areas.

The tank-like robot, which was designed to transport equipment and wounded people, is equipped with cameras that allow the person who’s operating it to see what’s happening within danger zones. Colossus can be life-saving in situations where there is a risk of smoke inhalation, burns or falling debris.

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It’s built to be operated from almost 1,000 feet away using a joystick or tablet and can withstand water exposure and thermal radiation, according to its maker Shark Robotics.

The French company, which designs and manufactures unmanned machines, says that Colossus’ modular design makes it “able to progress in every kind of ground” including climbing up stairs and maneuvering underwater. 

Powered by six lithium-ion batteries, Colossus is about 2.5 feet tall, 5.25 feet long and 2.5 feet wide – and is also bulletproof, Shark Robotics says.

The 1,000-plus pound machine is a slow mover, traveling upwards of 2 miles per hour, according to the website

Firefighters also used drones to monitor the progression of the fire and to find the best spots to aim fire hoses, according to the Verge. 

“The drones allowed us to correctly use what we had at our disposal,” Fire brigade spokesman Gabriel Plus told local media, according to the Verge.

Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown

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