Monday, June 8, 2009

Andros, Robot: Bomb-Sniffing Machine That Has Saved Many Lives Faces The Scrap Heap

Senior Constable Bruno Beaudin steers the bomb-detecting robot, Andros, out of the police transport truck. Photograph by: Dave Sidaway, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

With its three battle scarred "eyes," Montreal's sole police bomb-detecting robot has seen up close some of the city's most malevolent and anxiety-producing events.

Nicknamed Andros, the washing machine-sized robot has been on hundreds of calls about suspicious packages since 1995. That's when it replaced a police robot that blew up while handling explosives that were a product of Quebec's biker gang wars.

The $160,000, 270-kilogram Andros, made mostly of aluminum, has a preying mantis-like arm that can stretch more than three metres and drag a lightweight body. Police control it remotely to X-ray packages and safely dismantle them, often ripping them apart with water cannons without detonating explosives that might be inside.

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