Robotics company Teledyne Flir has developed a few rugged drones / robots that can investigate dangerous and hazardous material. As such, these devices don’t have to worry about smoke inhalation and can easily move around the treacherous area.
One of the robots, Flir FirstLook, is designed to crawl through tight spaces that are dangerous or otherwise impossible for humans to reach. At the size of a brick, it can even be thrown into areas that are hard to reach, where they will then use their wheels to search the rubble. If the robot lands upside down, it has the capability to right itself.
FirstLook robots weigh approximately 2.2 kg and are built to withstand drops of approximately 5 meters, even when dropped on hard surfaces such as concrete. The robots feature thermal sensors, cameras, and two-way radios in order to relay information back to search and rescue operatives.
A different robot, called PackBot 510, has a servo-arm that can move loads weighing around 40 pounds (18 kg). It weighs 50 pounds (22.6 kg) and can be stored in a car trunk and deployed within two minutes.
PackBot 510 is intended to be used to dispose of bombs, perform surveillance and reconnaissance, and handle chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents and other hazardous materials.
Both PackBot and FirstLook are semi-autonomous robots, which means they need an operator present during their search.
Also both have been tested following the devastating collapse of a condo in Miami, Florida on June 24, 2021.
“In a collapse situation like this, the pile is structurally unsound and constantly vulnerable to shifting. It’s much safer to have a robot crawl deeper into a void than to have a person crawling into that void,” Tom Frost, Teledyne Flir’s vice president of unmanned ground systems, told The Washington Post at the time.
Teledyne Flir was formed after aerospace electronics firm Teledyne Technologies acquired Flir, a 42-year-old software company for $8 billion. The merged companies develop technologies predominantly for the military, space exploration, and for the deep sea.
One of their products, FirstLook is a brick-sized robot that can be thrown into areas that are hard to reach, where they will then use their wheels to search the rubble. If it lands upside down, this robot has the capability to right itself. FirstLook featurea thermal sensors, cameras, and two-way radios in order to relay information back to search and rescue operatives.
A different kind of robot, PackBot, was designed to move rubble and can shift a load of approximately 40 pounds (18 kg). It weighs 50 pounds (22.6 kg) and can be stored in a car trunk and deployed within two minutes.
Teledyne Flir's parent company is already a partner to a few governments around the world and with their robot division, they may get some municipalities as clients as well. The way we see things, having such robots in the city's arsenal could prove beneficial. It will not only help the first responders better do their job, but will also keep them safer in some instances. And that's exactly the point public officials should use when justifying the purchase of Teledyne Flir's robots - they provide safety!
You may want to consider partnering with Teledyne Flir and explore the option of selling their fancy robots to the municipalities your business serves. Chances are they are looking for distributors and that's where your company could kick in, getting its cut on every sale. And perhaps, you may even want to explore some maintenance/service contracts as well. Nothing stops you from asking, right?