|Fire Spy, the Robot Fire Fighter|
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Courtesy of BBC News
It is based on a tough JCB vehicle but has been developed to withstand temperatures of up to 800 degrees centigrade. All the wiring has been upgraded to survive in the heat of an inferno.
Fire Spy is controlled remotely. The driver can see what is happening in the blaze through two cameras, infra-red and standard, which beam back video pictures. At the front is a powerful grabbing arm.
The technology is relatively simple but Malcolm Saunders, of the West Yorkshire Fire Service, thinks it is vital after he ran the firefighting operation at a Bradford chemicals factory in 1992.
"This was a huge fire. Very soon after I arrived, a company employee told me one of the warehouses was packed with 600 tons of acrylo-nitryl, a chemical so explosive that, had it gone off, it would have taken half of Bradford with it," he said.
What was needed was a safe way of moving the chemicals away from danger and now Fire Spy could do that.
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