Robot News Roundup

News about robots is abundant today. It looks like automation or human-robot relationships are represented by the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

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Image: The Los Angeles Times

A story reported by the Los Angeles Times states “Man vs. machine: L.A. sheriff’s deputies use robot to snatch rifle from barricaded suspect, end standoff”.

You’ve probably heard about how last summer a robot was used to kill the Dallas Black Lives Matter shooter by exploding a bomb. The decision was made to take the shooter out in this manner to minimize the risk of sending police officers after a heavily barricaded suspect. A great deal of debate ensued discussing the ethical and moral issues in eliminating a human threat by remote control making police use of robots seem ill-advised.

In the L.A. Times story, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies used a robot to observe an armed and dangerous suspect who was hiding in a dirt berm surrounded by shrubbery and wire fencing in a remote field in the Antelope Valley.

Deputies observed via the robot, that the suspect had his rifle resting at his feet. Using a number of different distractions to get the suspect’s attention, the robot was sent back in to grab the rifle with its claw and carry it out of the area.

The suspect, 51-year-old Brock Ray Bunge, didn’t notice his firearm was missing until the robot returned to remove the wire fencing.

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