Search and Disarm: The Cop Bot That Takes Down BombsS

Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) is one of the deadliest jobs in the military and it's no less dangerous here at home. But since Lieutenant-Colonel 'Peter' Miller designed the Wheelbarrow in 1972 against IRA IEDs in Northern Ireland, remote EOD robots have played an enormous part in explosive disarmarment. So when police find a suspicious package, they don't send in Officer Traven, they send in Officer tEODor.

The Telerob Explosive Ordinance Disposal and observation robot (tEODor) is a EOD platform designed and built by Telerob, part of Cobham systems. Since its debut in 2000, more than 400 tEODor systems have been deployed in 40 countries around the world for use in domestic bomb disposal. That's not to say it picks up bombs around the house, but rather that it's not constrained by size as its military sibling, the Telemax, is. As such, the tEODor is quite huge, measuring 4 feet tall by 4.5 feet long by 2.2 feet wide and tipping the scales at a whopping 826 pounds. With its tool boom fully raised, the system stands over nine feet tall.

And this robot is no slouch when it comes to power either. You thought the Big Dog throwing cinder blocks was impressive? The tEODor can push a sedan from its parking spot without breaking a sweat and dead lift up to 100kg. This system is also incredibly maneuverable, capable of climbing 45 degree slopes and clamoring over obstacles nearly ten inches tall on its rubber-treaded metal tracks.

What's more, tEODor features a unique six-axis manipulator with over nine feet of reach that can automatically swap in defusing tools—from holders and spring hooks to window breakers and impact wrenches—or employ up to five recoiless ballistic distupters in parallel. The tEODor system even offers an optional quadcopter for aerial recon. The gripper is equipped with force measurement sensors that relays how tightly the machine is holding an object.

A pair of color drive cameras, forward-facing PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera, as well as an additional one at the end of its gripper arm constitute the robot's vision system which, along with the rest of tEODor, is remotely operated by an EOD technician—either over RF or with a wired connection.

So while it looks increasingly like we'll never not need EOD forces, defense systems like the tEODor are making life for them—and the public—just a little safer.

[Army Technology - Kuchera Engineering (.pdf) - Telerob - Wikipedia - Military Systems Tech - Dutch Ministry of Defense - Image: Telerob]