Spotlight: iRobot provides increased protection and mission effectiveness for first responders

Now a safer distance between people and danger

Company Name: iRobot
Headquarters: Bedford, MA
Signature Product: Police Robots


Intro: The iRobot product line of ground robots runs the gamut from small to large. It includes FirstLook®, a five-pound throwable robot, and PackBot®, a versatile robot capable of lifting more than 30 pounds and accommodating disrupters from various manufacturers. iRobot believes in customer-driven products that are user-friendly and easily serviced in a timely manner.

What came first-- iRobot the company or I, Robot the movie?
iRobot, the company, has been around longer. It was founded in 1990. I, Robot, the movie, starring Will Smith, was released in 2004. As an aside, certain iRobot employees worked with the production team from I, Robot as ‘robot consultants’ of sorts. Both the company and the movie trace their heritage to I, Robot, a collection of science fiction stories written by Isaac Asimov and published in the mid-twentieth century.

What kind of track record does iRobot have?
iRobot has been selling robots to handle dangerous tasks since the early 2000’s. To date, we’ve delivered more than 5,000 defense & security robots. Within the police community, our customers are typically SWAT team members, bomb squad techs and HazMat techs. Our robots have operated in harsh environments like Iraq, Afghanistan, post-accident Fukushima and in the days following the Boston Marathon bombing.

How do your robots increase officer safety?
Using robots on high-risk callouts helps officers increase the stand-off distance between themselves and the threat, whether it is an explosive device or a barricaded subject. Think about a police commander:  should he or she make the decision to send in the entry team because the barricaded subject has been non-communicative? Or, would it be safer to send in a robot only to discover that the subject is preparing an ambush or has planted explosive devices?

What’s new and exciting with iRobot?
We’ve recently announced the uPoint™ Multi-Robot Control System. uPoint runs an Android™-based app that standardizes the control of any robot within the iRobot family of unmanned vehicles. Imagine that – using your fingertip and touchscreen technology that you’re already familiar with to drive, manipulate and inspect with your robot.

What kind of agencies are acquiring robots?
Robots have been acquired by agencies serving populations of less than 20,000 people, agencies that are part of regional teams, and all the way up to big-city teams. Robot purchases are funded through annual budgets, using funds from asset forfeiture, or by using grants. iRobot is helping agencies tap into grants by partnering with to offer grant assistance.

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