The Robotic Response

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Written by Brian Betts exclusively for SouthFront

As the terrorist crouched in a room within El Centro Community College, clutching a rifle and hurling abuse at the Dallas Police waiting outside, death was approaching in automata. Extending its main appendage, the Northrop Grumman Mark V-A1 bomb disposal robot placed C4 on the back-side of a brick wall the terrorist was positioned against.

Dallas

After a fierce 45-minute gun battle and tedious two hour negotiation phase, a plan was devised to end the stand-off with no further risk to officers. This plan, which was to become the first official use of a robot to kill a citizen on U.S. soil, was devised in “15-20 minutes,” according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The justification given for using a weaponized unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) was the so-called “objective reasonableness test,” which indicated that multiple officers would agree that a robot delivering explosives was the best course of action given the violent suspect shouting out his desire to take more lives.

The Robotic Response

David Brown

After placing a single pound of C4, the robot retreated. When the C4 was detonated, the robot’s extension arm was damaged slightly, but otherwise, the terrorist shooter took the brunt of the explosive force, dying of over-pressure and shrapnel wounds from the wall.

Northrop Grumman Mark V-A1

This ANDROS bomb disposal robot, which delivered the killing blow to the terrorist in Dallas, is often imported into police departments through the 1033 Program. This program is designed to bring military-grade hardware to departments which demand extra capabilities.

The Robotic Response

The robot’s primary specifications are as follows:

Vision: Four cameras with color/low-light modes, 72:1 zoom, pan/tilt

Power: 24VDC – Two 65 amp-hr 12VDC spiral-cell batteries

Appendage: Gripper with interchangeable accessory mounts, 8 ft. reach

Command and Control: Vehicle-bound fiber optic cable, radio control, tether cable

Communication: Two-way audio, weatherproof speaker and microphone

Weight: ~800lbs (Depending on loadout)

Top Speed: 3.5 mph

Cost: $180,000, Dallas (1033 Discount Price $151,000)

While not designed to deliver weapons, the Mark V-A1 in Dallas proved to be a stealthy and able assassin. Regardless of its configuration, the end result demonstrates the combat competence of this robot against an armed and armored target in a defensive position.

Baton Rouge

Less than a week after the Dallas shooting, three officers from the Baton Rouge area were killed by a terrorist. After the terrorist shooter in Baton Rouge was taken down by responding officers, a bomb disposal robot was used to verify that no explosives were present on the body.

The Robotic Response

Police officers block off a road after a shooting of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney – RTSIE5K

Republican National Convention (RNC)

According to public records, “more than 20 robots similar to the one in Dallas have been transferred to local law-enforcement agencies in Ohio, including at least three to the State Highway Patrol.”

The sheer number of transferred robots would suggest preparations for a wide variety of potential missions at the RNC. In addition to larger robots such as the Mark V-A1, the defensive contingency for the RNC convention in Cleveland includes a variety of smaller robots drawn from the second-largest 1033 purchase in America. At 40 robots, Ohio police departments are only behind California (272 purchases) in military-grade robot purchases.

The Robotic Response

Multi-function Agile Remote-Controlled Robot

At $10,000-19,000 the Multi-function Agile Remote-Controlled Robot (MARCbot) is a popular bomb disposal robot used by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The robot is relatively light at 32 lbs. The ‘Marcbot’s’ batteries allow it to operate for six hours.

The Robotic Reality

Widespread political and public support for robotic response units to oppose human criminal elements will set a course for consequences delivered via automated systems. Terrorists, lone-wolf and group alike, will have to face the reality that once they are suppressed or cornered, combat-capable robots are an inevitable consequence.

The perceived impact death-by-robot will have on a given cause is left to be seen. What is known is that in addition to sparing their officers from physical harm, robots allow operators to build skills and take risks in missions; even if their machine is destroyed, the knowledge is retained.

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  • Shhh

    The militarization of police has begun.

    • George Washington

      Where have you been the last two decades?

  • Shhh

    Yes militarization of US police has gone on since excuse of 911. But he was first US citizen blown up by US police/military.

  • The_Ipcress_File

    So what? Give the Police MORE of these things to protect themselves against fanatics, terrorists and BLM.

    • Brian B.

      No one is saying robot = bad. Just an article I wanted to write to recap recent usage of robots. Good or bad–it is unprecedented.