Trending Topics

Key Considerations in Sourcing First Responder Reconnaissance Robots

Primary factors to consider when deciding on the tactical robot for your team

RANDOLPH, Vt.- As options exist for first responders to achieve visual intelligence via a range of tactical police robots, there’s a need in the law enforcement and SWAT community to highlight key factors differentiating these vehicles. While most are designed to provide “eyes on” from safety, the robots vary widely in realistic capability. For many departments, capability is paramount to price point or scale of product marketing.

Radio Communication Strength
Not all robots are created equal. Video signal strength and control distance varies widely between robots depending on line of sight factors and other obstacles. Agencies should test potential robots to see which will perform best under more common circumstances. A robot that loses communication inside of structures does not typically deliver valuable intelligence. Some robots claim a long range, but only in line of sight situations, meaning video relay is provided into areas already visible.

Debris Management
While “throwbots” may be inexpensive and lightweight, they are also more likely to be hampered by debris in their path such as clothing or trash. Some robots can push furniture or doors open while others cannot.

Single Level or Multilevel
Can the robot climb stairs or not? How high can each stair be? Decide if your team would like this capability or not and then act accordingly. Are special control skills required to negotiate stairs or is it automated on the OCU is another relevant question.

Speed and Terrain
Robots vary widely in their crawl and top speeds. They also perform to varying degrees on varying types of terrain. Consider sand, snow, rocks, grass, mud and perforated ground types. Not every need for visual intelligence will be on a smooth surface. Delivery System Some robots have enough girth and power to also act as a delivery system into dangerous zones for items like water, food, or cell phones. Some can tow a trailer or sled with a payload.

Repair and Service
Service after the sale is important, especially for robots that get used in the field often. Some providers keep a loaner available in cases of repair.

Custom Attachments and Solutions
Some companies are willing to work with their customers to create custom add‐ons and solutions. Others have a set menu.

As with most technological products, customers get what they pay for. Pointman Tactical Robot may not be suited for every department’s needs or budget, but all are urged to make an informed decision when procuring a robot to ensure it will meet needs. Pointman Robot is proudly designed, tested and assembled in the USA.

The Pointman, a compact, highly mobile reconnaissance robot is an ideal tool for first responders including SWAT and Bomb Teams. Pointman is currently fielded with law enforcement agencies across the US, and has been supplied to Department of Defense units as well. For more information about Pointman, visit www.ara‐ or call (802) 728‐4588. Demonstrations available upon request.

Pointman has been designed and manufactured in consultation with military and law enforcement experts by Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA), an international research and engineering company recognized for providing technically excellent solutions to complex and challenging problems.

About Applied Research Associates, Inc.
Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) is an international research and engineering company recognized for providing technically excellent solutions to complex and challenging problems in the physical sciences. Our mission is to provide in-depth and diversified research, engineering, and technical support services. We have a broad range of technical expertise in defense technologies, civil engineering, computer software and simulation, systems analysis, environmental technologies, and blast testing and measurement. We also provide sophisticated technical products for environmental site characterization, pavement evaluation, and specialized robotic vehicles. For more information, visit