Robot Helpers at Notre Dame

Notre Dame de Paris, built 850 years ago, was recently damaged by fire. As many as 50,000 visitors come to Notre Dame each day to experience the treasures of European civilization, enjoy the music of one of the most famous organs in the world, and attend religious services. The world was relieved when the Paris Fire Brigade was able to limit damage, save most of the artifacts, and keep people safe.

Robots helped the fire fighters in two ways.

First, drones generated heat maps showing where the fire was. This helped firefighters determine their best strategy for attacking the fire.

Second, a robot called Colossus actually used a water cannon. It was able to reduce the temperature inside the cathedral to allow people to conduct rescue operations more safely. About 38 seconds into the video above, you can see Colossus at work.

The structure of the cathedral maintained its integrity, even though the wooden spire was lost.


Colossus, created by Shark robotics, is specifically designed to work in dangerous situations, supporting firefighters. It extinguishes fires, carries equipment or wounded people, and uses its sensors to collect and disseminate essential information about fire locations. Making sure that all the firefighters have the same information in real time

This is a very large and powerful robot, with electric motors — two, at 4,000 watts apiece. It uses electromagnetic brakes.

It’s waterproof, has an arm as well as a basket and a stretcher, and can operate for 6 – 8 hours without recharging. It can climb stairs and handle rough terrain. It even has a smoke extraction fan.

What’s more, training to use the machine takes just half a day. It can be piloted with a smartphone or tablet, or a dual frequency transmitter at a super-rugged control station can be used instead.

The primary mission of Colossus is simply to keep people safe. Replacing human firefighters is not a goal; the object is to take over the parts of the firefighters’ jobs that are the most hazardous. At the same time, letting Colossus take on the heaviest work frees firefighters for problem-solving and quick thinking.

Signs of the future

Colossus and the heat-mapping drones did what automation does best. They worked in dangerous conditions, using their robot skills and strengths to support their human colleagues.

We specialize in Rexroth industrial motion control. Notre Dame is important. Your industrial automation is important to you, too. We can help you fast. Contact us right away to get started.

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