If something terrible happens at your job, you might file a TPS report later than your boss would like or maybe people on the internet would run out of things to read. If something terrible happens at a bomb tech's job, they might get exploded. A tragedy if it's a human being. But if it's a robot? A small lump sum out of the defense budget.
You're on an elite Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team, somewhere in the Afghanistan. You can't tell your family where exactly—that's classified. Last week the Taliban took over a small building that had been used by the ANP (Afghani National Police) as a base, but it seems that they have now abandoned it. The ANP wants to use it again, but you've got to make sure there are no IEDs or boobytraps. It's now dark, and your truck is a few hundred yards from the building. It's time to send in the bots.
First you need to know if the road leading up to the building and the area around it is clear of IEDs. It's dark outside, so you're going to need something with keen eyes. Like in iRobot's XM1216 SUGV. It's the same platform as the 310 SUGV (which I got to drive), but the payload is different. The XM1216 swaps out its arm for a whole bunch of unblinking eyeballs. Its main camera is a Sony 980, which has a resolution of 640 x 480 and a 26x optical zoom. It's also fitted with a thermal camera for super clear vision through darkness or smoke, and it's got a laser range-finder, so you know exactly how far away an object of interest is. Carefully maneuvering the bot around the building with your Xbox controller, you decide that the perimeter is safe.