The size of a Smart car, but with a weight of 3,500 pounds, the Thermite RS3 is the first robotic firefighting vehicle in the United States. Slated to arrive at a news conference on October 13, it ended up being diverted to a major emergency structure fire in downtown Los Angeles earlier in the day. "It was exciting to see this unique piece of apparatus put into action on its first day in service," said Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott. "What we had was a large one-story commercial building, it was housing piles of textiles, multiple rolls of fabric. The Thermite RS3 helped push piles of smoldering wet debris, creating a path for the firefighters to operate safely." The remote-controlled vehicle can pull up to 8,000 pounds, spray water or foam at 2,500 gallons per minute and is equipped with cameras. The LA Fire Department says the RS3 will be used in situations of high risk to firefighters, such as structurally unstable buildings or hazardous materials. "The point is, we cannot afford to lose firefighters. We would much rather lose a piece of machinery, " Scott said, "so we would put this into situations we would not put firefighters in, due to significant hazards."

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