Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A robot that was used by firemen to save the Notre Dame cathedral that was badly damaged in a fire in Paris is set to be used to disinfect large surfaces infected with COVID-19.
The naval fire service (‘marins-pompiers’) in Marseille will soon be able to count on the 500-kilogramme robot called Marius – that can spew a whopping 3,000 litres of liquid in just one minute – to help them put out fires and also to disinfect large areas that have been infected with COVID-19.
Marius is a Colossus robot built by a company called Shark Robotics. ‘He’ was used during the Notre Dame cathedral fire on 15th April 2019 to go in and spray water on the nave, effectively saving it as it was far too hot for a human being to be able to go inside and do the same.
Now the robot is being upgraded with a special disinfection module so he can be used to clean large areas where people infected with COVID-19 have been.
Captain Hubert, head of the specialised robot unit in charge of operating Marius, said: “We have been working on this project with Shark Robotics for two years, but we accelerated the process to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic.”
He also said: “The idea is to have a spray that can reach 360 degrees around the robot.”
He added: “The moment we have a detection of COVID-19 in a large environment that needs a fast and efficient disinfection, we will be able to send in Marius.”
Marius costs 225,000 EUR (201,000 GBP) and can put out fires in warehouses that could collapse or on industrial sites, to avoid the risk of explosion. He will also be responsible for disinfecting places where COVID-19 has circulated, and with impressive efficiency. Marius can cover 20,000 square metres in just three hours.
He can also transport equipment and navigate difficult terrain thanks to his caterpillar tracks, and there are also plans to make him be able to transport an injured person thanks to a stretcher that would be attached on top of him.
Ten remote control pilots have been specially trained by the Marseille fire service so that the robot is available 24/7.
He also has an infrared camera that will allow the operator to track his movements from behind the safety of a screen.
These images show Marius in use fighting the Notre Dame fire last year, as well as more recently, having been acquired by the fire service who plan to use it to disinfect COVID-19 sites quickly and efficiently after they have finished upgrading it with the help of Shark Robotics.
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