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Missions such as clearing buildings, detecting explosive charges etc. in a hostile environment often endanger the lives of soldiers and law enforcement officers. A new remote-controlled ‘throwable’ robot can replace them in these risky tasks.
Endeavor Robotics, a tactical ground robotics manufacturer, developed a five-pound (2.3 kg) ‘throwable’ robot, FirstLook, that can be dropped 16-feet (about 5 m) onto concrete without sustaining damage. The recordable day/night cameras and two-way audio provide the user with immediate awareness of their surroundings.
FirstLooks are often used to clear buildings and detect IEDs. The robots can climb up to seven inches (about 18 cm) and can automatically ‘self-right’ when flipped over. The remote-controlled robot acts as ‘eyes and ears’ allowing the human operator to increase their stand-off distance from potential threats. The camera’s audio and video recordings also provide critical post-mission analysis.
According to the company’s statement on its website, FirstLook robots are used worldwide across multiple sectors, including military, law enforcement and the energy industry. 44 FirstLook robots were recently delivered to the German Government after successfully passing field tests comparing FirstLook’s performance capabilities against the German Government’s stated requirements.
This recent deal marks the company’s second product to see widespread fielding with the German Government. Since 2006, Endeavor Robotics (formerly iRobot Corporation) has outfitted and sustained the German Federal Defense Force with a fleet of PackBot robots used to identify and dispose of explosive devices. Local sales and support for the fleet of robots is offered by Endeavor’s partner, European Logistic Partners (ELP GmbH.)