Everything known about the bomb robot used by Dallas police   Leave a comment


Theverge.com

In the early hours of Friday morning, police officers in Texas took what is thought to have been unprecedented action for US law enforcement. Using a bomb disposal robot, they killed the suspect in last week’s shooting in Dallas after negotiations with the individual broke down. “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,” Dallas police chief David Brown told reporters. “Other options would have exposed our officers to great danger. The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb.”

Many experts believe this is the first time that a bomb disposal robot has been used in this way on US soil. Such robots are controlled remotely, and used for tasks such as surveillance and investigating suspect bombs. Some are equipped with two way intercoms and even cameras to allow for police to negotiate with suspects without risk. When deployed for bomb disposal, they often use small explosives in order to trigger the larger bomb.

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The police Remotec Model F-5, a bomb disposal remote control vehicle, was rigged with C-4 explosive, killing Johnson and ending the standoff.

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But while their intended function is not to injure enemy combatants (or criminals), this isn’t the first time they’ve been put to this use. Peter W. Singer, an expert in military technology and think tank strategist, tweeted that US troops in Iraq had used their own bomb disposal robots in this way.

Singer describes this practice — which used a cheap bomb disposal robot called the MARCbot — in an essay in the book The Changing Character of War:

“The MARCbot is not just notable for its small size; it was the first ground robot to draw blood in Iraq. One unit of US soldiers jury-rigged their MARCbots to carry Claymore anti-personnel mines. If they thought an insurgent was hiding in an alley, they would send a MARCbot down first, and if they found someone waiting in ambush, take him out with the Claymore. Of course, each insurgent killed in this fashion meant $5,000 worth of blown-up robot parts, but so far the army has not billed the soldiers.”

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MARCbot extends its camera to search for suspected improvised explosive devices

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Bomb disposal robots, though, have emerged as a flexible tool for law enforcement, particularly SWAT teams. In April, members of the California Highway Patrol used a bomb disposal robot to deliver a pizza to a suspect, effectively ending a standoff. And in 2013, a SWAT team in Albuquerque used their bot to remove the blanket from a suicidal individual barricaded in his room, checking whether or not he was armed. (No weapon was found and a SWAT team took him into custody.)

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Posted July 10, 2016 by markosun in Crime, Technology

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