Law enforcement has become more cautious.
In the recent shooting in Dallas and in the shooting in San Bernardino last December, military robots were used to save the lives of police officers.
Only recently, a bomb robot was deployed to kill suspect Micah Johnson during the Dallas sniper attack. The suspect was inside a parking garage for several hours and all negotiations were stalled before the robot was dispatched.
“We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was,” reported Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “Other options would have exposed our officers in grave danger.”
Similarly, a military robot was used in the San Bernardino incident. 80 people were attacked in a reception due to an ISIS- inspired act of terrorism. The robot in the incident was used to see if there were active shooters in the building. Bielat – the Boston-run company that is the leading supplier of battle hardened unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) – says that: “[the robot] helps law enforcement without putting their own people at risk.”
Bielat has sold over 6,000 machines to the U.S. military, foreign militaries, and law enforcement around the country.
The robots, however, are a bit pricy. Most devices are $100,000 each and require a specialized agent to operate them. This makes it difficult for some law enforcement branches to afford them.
This doesn’t stop law enforcement branches from purchasing these bots. Many branches are interested in the FirstLook (5 lbs) and PackBot (65 lbs). The 110 FirstLook is a sturdy robot that can investigate dangerous material and observe its surroundings. The 510 PackBot, on the other hand, is capable of disposing bombs. It can also provide the user with real-videos and audio while keeping the user away from danger.
Authorities are starting to see military robots in a new light. In earlier years, authorities were reluctant about using these pricey machines. Now, with the recent shootings, these same machines are being seen for their real worth.