"Our robot has tremendous potential for use in many departments," says Rains. "I am confident that we are capable of developing an easy-to-use, cost-effective solution for any challenge our customers present."
According to Officer Jim Walsh of the Illinois State Police Tactical Response Team, "We use the HUD display as well as the OCU and a five-gas monitor in our training scenarios."
Other examples of devices and sensors include: additional full-color, high-resolution, rear-mounted, pan-and-tilt, infrared or night vision cameras; a disruptor for bomb diffusion; less-lethal devices such as a pepper spray dispenser; radiation, blood, blister and nerve agent detectors; toxic industrial chemical and gas monitors; a portable in-vehicle control system; and a mobility upgrade which allows the Negotiator to perform tasks such as climbing stairs.
The Negotiator's mobility upgrade consists of two parallel track extensions mounted on either side of the robot, which can be rotated 360 degrees. This upgrade allows the robot to perform tasks such as self-righting, climbing stairs, etc.
As technology improves and new problems arise, the Negotiator was created to accommodate those future technological breakthroughs and solutions. The Negotiator's architecture provides simple upgradeability for the incorporation of tomorrow's video, data transmitters and sensors. "Our Negotiator robot was designed with 'open system' architecture, which allows for the integration of virtually any sensor, communications package, etc. present or future," adds Rains.
Another upgrade to the Negotiator is a six-axis robotic arm, which is mounted on top of the robot. The arm's intuitive control provides, with the addition of four high-resolution cameras, the ability to pick up items, open and unlock doors, assist in diffusing a bomb using various tactics, and more.
Inspired by the Da Vinci machine (a robotic system designed to enhance a surgeon's capability and ultimately perform surgery more safely), which utilizes the natural functions of the human hand, the arm's six-axis control plugs directly into the OCU. A simple camera-select button scrolls through the available camera views.
"The control mimics an arm," says Ahed. "When the controller turns his wrist, the arm turns the wrist. Likewise, when the controller opens his grip, the arm opens the grip." The six-axis arm further extends the Negotiator's capabilities by allowing it to perform tasks such as opening doors; lifting, carrying and delivering small objects (up to 10 pounds); explosive ordinance disposal; and detailed inspections with efficiency and precision, he explains.
The Negotiator's operation does not require weeks or days of training.
"We allow a different member on our team to control the robot at each training session," says Walsh. "It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to learn how to operate it."
The Negotiator robot's single joystick and push-button operation is another intuitive aspect of the package. The Negotiator's controlling joystick is directionally related to the direction of the robot. The robot's speed is directly proportional in that the throw of the joystick determines how fast or slow the robot will move.
In the high risk law enforcement environment where a callout may be a false alarm, involve a peaceful surrender or end deadly for the officer and/or suspect, utilizing a high tech robot such as the Negotiator as a tactical tool decreases the risk to personnel and shortens the operation — saving time, money and lives.