In an unprecedented historic event on July 8, 2016, the US Dallas police displayed lethal force by using a robot to kill a suspect. The suspect was said to have murdered five police officers and injured seven others.
Dallas police Chief David Brown revealed that an explosive was fixed to the extension arm on the robot, with the intention of neutralising the suspect. The suspect was identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, had shot 12 police officers, during a protest organised against a recent police shooting.
According to a post dated May 2, 2016, the Dallas police had acquired “Bomb Robots” for combating terror attacks. The Dallas Police Explosive Ordinance Unit is a collaboration between the Dallas Police and Dallas Fire Rescue.
According to a tweet by Peter W. Singer, the robot used in the operation was likely a MARCbot-IV EOD. The bot was designed to allow soldiers at the front to stand at a distance and diffuse the bombs. It also has a moveable camera arm that acts as the eyes of the operator. The bot was primarily designed to diffuse bombs.
MARCbot IV was used by the US troops in Iraq. It is a small truck with a mast on top, where the camera is placed, so that it can look behind doors or through windows. When the batteries are fully charged, the bot can run non-stop for six hours. Using technology to combat terrorism may not be a new thing, but such an event is first of its kind. It may have opened doors to an array of possibilities. However, the risk involved is unimaginably high.
Such high-end technology to combat terrorism seems far from reach for India, for reasons beyond a layman. But one can’t help wonder the impact it would have on the terrorism combat situation inside and outside the country, if we were to adopt such technology.