A robot that fights fires – and Coronavirus too

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To disinfect surfaces without taking risks, Marseilles’ Bataillon de Marins-Pompiers (marine fire service) has equipped itself with two Colossus robots, remote control and modular autonomous units which are proving to be valuable assets in the fight against Covid-19.

A robot that fights fires – and Coronavirus tooThe fire service in France has already made use of Colossus elsewhere: when fire was threatening the integrity of the structure during the Notre Dame blaze in 2019, Colossus enabled almost 3000 litres of water/minute to be sprayed onto the inside walls of the cathedral, without endangering human life. Developed by the French company Shark Robotics, in partnership with the Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris (Paris firefighters) the robot is designed to be adaptable for use in a variety of potentially dangerous situations.

After proving its effectiveness on fire, Colossus is now being used to combat Coronavirus, thanks to a recently developed decontamination module. Equipped with a 50L tank connected to nozzles that micro-spray disinfectant liquid, the robot is capable of disinfecting up to 20,000m2 in 3 hours. If necessary, Colossus can also be fitted with a smoke-removal fan to facilitate access to an area on fire: it can also be fitted with a motorised handling arm to grasp and move objects. It was this versatility that led to an order from the Bataillon de Marins-Pompiers from Marseille, who acquired two of the robots in May 2020.

Remotely operated by a fire officer, the robots can change modules as required in less than 30s without using any tools. Their multiple NRBC cameras and sensors allow them to carry out investigation missions, transport equipment using a pannier, or evacuate an injured person on a towed stretcher. It is also possible to add an HD camera to Colossus to observe its surroundings through 360 degrees, day and night, or to fit it with sensors dedicated to measuring precise parameters, such as temperature, radiation, or the presence of bacteriological agents.

Although it weighs 500kg, Colossus measures only 78cm wide and 76cm high, with a length of 1.6m. Compact and robust, it is made entirely of aerospace-specification aluminium and steel. Capable of carrying loads of up to 1 tonne, the robot is fitted with two 4000W motors and six batteries, giving it 10 to 12 hours of typical running time. To help guarantee the reliability of its robot under the most extreme conditions, Shark Robotics called upon the expertise of MDP (maxon France) for its choice of key components. The motors had to be compact and efficient for the robot’s motorised arms, and each Colossus contains 19 different products supplied by maxon.

More information on Shark Robotics’ Colossus on the official website: Go to for further company details.

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