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Over the next four years, Brazil will be home to several world-class events. In July 2013, the mostly Catholic nation will welcome the recently elected Pope Francis as he makes his first official international visit. In 2014, Rio De Janeiro will host World Cup Soccer and two years later, the much-awaited summer Olympics. Given the unfortunate rise in terrorism especially at large public events, the government is not taking chances when it comes to keeping both visitors and locals, safe.
In addition to deploying thousands of robocops — humans wearing facial-recognition camera glasses that are capable of capturing 400 images per second and storing them in a central database that can harbor up to 13 million faces, the government has also rented Israeli drones. On May 19th, they announced an additional layer of security - 30 Packbot 510 robots from US-based American IRobot advanced technology.
Widely used in the war in Iraq, as well as, the tsunami rescue efforts in Japan, the robots are reputed to be 'multi-mission, battle-tested.' They can help with the construction of the Olympic stadiums, clear out routes and thanks to the fact that they are camera equipped, be sent to examine suspicious looking objects without risking human lives. In addition, the battery packed bots that can move as fast as 5.8 miles per hour are capable of climbing steep slopes, can withstand up to six-foot drops and also, automatically right themselves in case they topple over. They are completely weatherproof and can even function in waters up to 3-feet deep.
If that is not impressive enough how about this? The Pacbot is semi-autonomous which means that it can travel and make some decisions on its own and in case it loses communication altogether, can simply retrace its steps and go back to seek out its mission team.
At a total cost of $7.2 Million USD, which includes spare parts and maintenance this army of robots does not come cheap - However, given that the Brazilian government is planning to spend a total of $900 million USD to make these the safest events ever that, is a tiny drop in the bucket. The Packbots will be put to the test as early as July 22nd, 2013, when the Pope arrives in Rio de Janeiro, for his seven-day visit.
Resources: dailymail.co.uk, news.cnet.com,rt.com