Chicago police to use robot to fight crime
November 16, 2006 (WLS) -- Chicago police unveiled a new weapon to fight crime in the city Thursday. It's not exactly RoboCop -- but it's very close.
For obvious reasons, Chicago police bomb squad members have used robotic devices since late last century. But what they rolled out Thursday morning takes the technology to a new level and makes you think about that old movie -- RoboCop.
If City Hall is to be believed, they have the most advanced version of an android police officer on duty in any big city in America. It will do things only human cops used to do.
"If we have hostage takers and they we want to bring them a mobile phone, rather than putting a police officer in harm's way, we can have the bomb robot deliver it," Philip Cline, Chicago Police Superintendent
While the city press release described it as a "bomb robot," the manufacturer of "Andros F6-A" calls it the most versatile, heavy duty robot on the market. It is armed with a high-powered water cannon, able to see with its cameras that zoom, tilt, pan and do night vision, hear with its built-in microphones and communicate with its external speaker.
By January, Chicago will have four robots costing $135,000 apiece. Two will be for citywide police use, one exclusively for O'Hare and another for the fire department's hazardous materials unit. The most frequent police use will be to investigate -- including x-ray-suspected bombs.
"If a bomb does go off, I would rather lose a $135,000 robot than the lives of a police officer, by stander or any first responder," said Daley.
For now, Hollywood's version of an android cop remains much more nimble than Andros F6-A -- which had difficulty climbing the temporary stairs set up for Thursday morning's demonstration. Slowly, police work in Chicago takes another step up the technology ladder.
"The technology is just amazing," said Cline.
The Andros F-6-A model is battle-tested. It is one of the primary robots used by the U.S. military in Iraq.
The Chicago device is armed with a water cannon but on the web page the manufacturer says it may also be armed with a shotgun.
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