A specialized robot developed in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, is now in Surfside, Florida, helping rescue teams search for any signs of life in the massive pile of rubble following a large apartment building collapse.
“We overnighted a system down there to have at the ready,” said Tom Frost, Vice President of Teledyne FLIR’s ground robot business.
The 5-lb. robot is equipped with a specialized camera that can fit into small spaces.
“This robot is small enough to go into those voids, travel down in areas people can’t go and provide that feedback via video camera and microphone,” Frost said.
Teledyne FLIR develops robots at its Chelmsford facility. They’ve been used by the military and first responders. One of the first versions was used at Ground Zero on 9/11. It was a much larger 50 pounds. Frost was there to help operate it.
“It is daunting when you look at the pile and the collapse and realize how unstable it is and the threat to the first responders,” he said. “It’s a very precarious situation.”
More on the Building Collapse
He said that scene is similar to what they’re dealing with in Florida. Frost hopes their robot can help in any way possible.
“Anytime that we can help, we put our equipment forward and offer it to the first responders or the military or whomever needs it,” he said.
The company’s robots have also been used in the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers as well as the Fukushima nuclear disaster.