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RoboCop Revisited: How Automation Is Transforming Public Safety




October 1, 2011 By

Law enforcement technology may not have reached the point where officers are replaced by cyborgs (think RoboCop), but new automated devices and robots are making public safety efforts more efficient and significantly less dangerous.

According to experts, unmanned ground robots, 3-D technology and various scientific developments are slowly but steadily changing how police, tactical and rescue personnel spend their time and do their jobs.

Four-wheeled drones (that have more in common with Mars rovers than screenwriter Ed Neumeier’s RoboCop character) are increasingly being used to extend the eyes and ears of police and military personnel. A variety of companies are producing these robots, which are designed to keep people out of harm’s way.

For instance, a line of ground and maritime robots from iRobot, a robot designer and manufacturer, is focused on achieving mission objectives such as observation and investigation. The company’s small unmanned ground vehicles have been used by bomb squads and SWAT teams to gather information prior to raids. Knob Moses, head of iRobot’s Government and Industrial Robots Division and a retired Navy supply officer, said giving people the ability to diffuse bombs and investigate scenes with a remote presence that features audio and video feeds is a huge safety benefit. Whether it’s a hostage situation or a drug lab, the ability to see and hear what’s going on from a distance improves situational awareness and saves lives.


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