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Building a Better Bomb Robot

NCJ Number
Date Published
2 pages
This article describes the development of a bomb robot to comply with recommended specifications and feedback from testing.
Under law enforcement agencies' persistent demand for better bomb-disposal robots, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) convened a panel of bomb-squad professionals for the purpose of defining the feature for an improved bomb robot. NIJ published the recommendations in an online-only report entitled "Law Enforcement Robot Technology Assessment." EOD Performance, Inc., a Canadian robotics and security products company, read the report and decided to build a robot to meet the recommended specifications, without requesting NIJ funding. The prototype robot was produced before EOD came to NIJ requesting an evaluation of the robot. The NIJ-funded evaluation found that the robot met many basic requirements in the initial NIJ report. It could lift 35 pounds vertically from a point 18 inches in front of its body, climb stairs at angles of up to 40 degrees, and operate at a 300-yard range. It had easily removable batteries, fit down the aisles of buses and airplanes and into the trunk of a car, and weighed less than 130 pounds. It operated at temperatures that ranged from -40 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and in heavy rain or snow, and it had the capability of firing a disrupter, deploying digital x-rays, and providing views from multiple color cameras. The robot successfully completed 86 percent of the test scenarios. Evaluation results were used to produce an improved model, estimated to cost approximately $35,000 to $38,000, depending on accessories.