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Watch firefighting robot tanks in action as Chinese fire service showcases new arsenal

Chinese authorities have released footage of fire-fighting robots in action during an enormous fire drill at its ancient Forbidden City.

Broadcast on Chinese state television, the footage shows volunteers fleeing from the building as the tanks approach.

Outdoing the Daleks of Dr Who fame the robots mount  the steps on the palace approach before hosing down the building at a distance of – at a guess – about 50ft.

Held by the Palace museum to coincide with its 91st anniversary, the drill involved 500 firefighters, military personnel and volunteers in addition to the phalanx of small, tank-like robots.

The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from about 1420 to 1912, spanning the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. The Forbidden City has endured 100 blazes in its 600-year existence.

The robots, which are also mounted with cameras, have been designed for use in hazardous environments so that firefighters need not be exposed to explosives and toxic materials.

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