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High-Tech Work Vehicles

Part 1

Higher! Bigger! More Robotics! Fire Engines and Ambulances Go High-Tech

Fire engines and ambulances are usually the first to arrive at the scene of a fire or explosion. Today's taller buildings and modern chemical and industrial complexes mean more dangerous accidents in harder to reach places, but emergency vehicles have kept up with exciting new technology.

Fire truck with folding arm

Fire truck with folding arm

The aerial ladders of fire engines in the past have been replaced with folding arms. These arms are remotely controlled from the ground and reach into the sky to fight fires in tall buildings by spraying massive amounts of water or fire extinguishing foam onto flames across a wide area. Some of the newest arms are equipped with a video camera and a device to break through glass and thin plates, while others fold at two points and can extinguish fires from a height of over 20 meters.

Super Ambulance

Super Ambulance, the largest ambulance in the world
Right: Expands to three times in size

Holds eight beds

Holds eight beds

The super ambulance is huge and comes with amazing new functions. Driving down the street, it looks like nothing more than a large ambulance, but when it arrives on the scene, it expands, its sides spreading like wings. It is big enough to hold up to eight beds inside and can be used as a temporary first-aid station. The super ambulance is deployed to major accidents where there are many injured who need medical care.

When smoke or toxic gas keeps firefighters from the scene of an accident, the robotic emergency vehicle Robokyu comes to the rescue. Robokyu has six cameras that operators remotely control for a front, back, left, and right view of these dangerous sites. Robotic arms remove debris out of the way, lift the injured, and carry them to safety.


Left: Robokyu robotic rescue vehicle
Right: The conveyor belt lifts and carries the injured to safety (training doll used in photo).
(Photos: Tokyo Fire Department)