Knock Knock: Dallas Police Used Robot With Bomb to Kill Ambush Suspect

Special-D

Erik Ortiz reports: Police in Dallas used a robot with an explosive device to kill a suspect involved in a coordinated ambush against officers.

“We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was. Other options would have exposed our officers in grave danger.”

— Mayor Mike Rawlings

The suspect was holed up inside the El Centro College parking garage for several hours overnight Thursday before police moved to “blast him out,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said Friday. The negotiations with the unidentified suspect had stalled.

“We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was,” Rawlings told reporters. “Other options would have exposed our officers in grave danger.”

The mayor said the suspect was killed by the device, and disputed earlier reports that he might have shot himself.

At least three other suspects were involved in the attack on officers during a protest Thursday night about police-involved shootings elsewhere in the country. Five officers were killed and seven others were injured, as well as two civilians.

Typically, police forces have bomb squads that employ remote-controlled robots for dismantling explosive devices.

But using robots with explosives or munitions to root out or even kill suspects appears far less routine…(more)

Source: NBC News

micah

The first suspect in the Dallas police shooting was identified as Micah X. Johnson, 25, the Los Angeles Times reported. Johnson was a resident of the Dallas area who had no ties to terror groups or a criminal history. Law enforcement said he has relatives in Mesquite, Texas.

Five police officers were killed late Thursday by shooters during a peaceful protest over the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile earlier this week. Dallas Police Chief David Brown said negotiations with one suspect broke down early Friday and a bomb robot was used to kill the suspect. Read the rest of this entry »


James R. Hagerty: Meet the New Generation of Robots for Manufacturing

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They are nimbler, lighter and work better with humans. They might even help bring manufacturing back to the U.S.

James R. Hagerty writes: A new generation of robots is on the way—smarter, more mobile, more collaborative and more adaptable. They promise to bring major changes to the factory floor, as well as potentially to the global competitive landscape.

Robots deployed in manufacturing today tend to be large, dangerous to anyone who strays too close to their whirling arms, and limited to one task, like welding, painting or hoisting heavy parts.

“Robots are going to change the economic calculus for manufacturing. People will spend less time chasing low-cost labor.”

— Hal Sirkin, a Chicago-based senior partner of Boston Consulting Group

The latest models entering factories and being developed in labs are a different breed. They can work alongside humans without endangering them and help assemble all sorts of objects, as large as aircraft engines and as small and delicate as smartphones. Soon, some should be easy enough to program and deploy that they no longer will need expert overseers.

“Researchers hope robots will become so easy to set up and move around that they can reduce the need for companies to make heavy investments in tools and structures that are bolted to the floor.”

That will change not only the way an increasing number of products are made. It could also mean an upheaval in the competition between companies and nations. As robots become less costly and more accessible, they should help smaller manufacturers go toe to toe with giants. By reducing labor costs, they also may allow the U.S. and other high-wage countries to get back into some of the processes that have been ceded to China, Mexico and other countries with vast armies of lower-paid workers.

“That would allow manufacturers to make shorter runs of niche or custom products without having to spend lots of time and money reconfiguring factories.”

Some of the latest robots are designed specifically for the tricky job of assembling consumer-electronics items, now mostly done by hand in Asia. At least one company promises its robots eventually will be sewing garments in the U.S., taking over one of the ultimate sweatshop tasks.

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“Robots are going to change the economic calculus for manufacturing,” says Hal Sirkin, a Chicago-based senior partner of Boston Consulting Group. “People will spend less time chasing low-cost labor.”

The changing face

Today, industrial robots are most common in auto plants—which have long been the biggest users of robot technology—and they do jobs that don’t take much delicacy: heavy lifting, welding, applying glue and painting. People still do most of the final assembly of cars, especially when it involves small parts or wiring that needs to be guided into place.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Now robots are taking on some jobs that require more agility. At a Renault SA plant in Cleon, France, robots made by Universal Robots AS of Denmark drive screws into engines, especially those that go into places people find hard to get at. The robots employ a reach of more than 50 inches and six rotating joints to do the work. They also verify that parts are properly fastened and check to make sure the correct part is being used.

At a Renault car plant, robots drive screws into engines—a sign of their progress in handling small parts. Photo: Renault

At a Renault car plant, robots drive screws into engines—a sign of their progress in handling small parts. Photo: Renault

The Renault effort demonstrates a couple of trends that are drastically changing how robots are made. For one, they’re getting much lighter. The Renault units weigh only about 64 pounds, so “we can easily remove them and reinstall them in another place,” says Dominique Graille, a manager at Renault, which is using 15 robots from Universal now and plans to double that by year-end. Read the rest of this entry »


Industrial Robotics: Why China May Have the Most Factory Robots in the World by 2017

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A perfect storm of economic forces is fueling the trend

Timothy Aeppel reports: Having devoured many of the world’s factory jobs, China is now handing them over to robots.

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China is already the world’s largest market for industrial robots—sales of the machines last year grew 54% from 2013. The nation is expected to have more factory robots than any other country on earth by 2017, according to the German-based International Federation of Robotics.

A perfect storm of economic forces is fueling the trend. Chinese labor costs have soared, undermining the calculus that brought all those jobs to China in the first place, and new robot technology is cheaper and easier to deploy than ever before.

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Not to mention that many of China’s fastest-growing industries, such as autos, tend to rely on high levels of automation regardless of where the factories are built.

“We think of them producing cheap widgets,” but that’s not what they’re focused on, says Adams Nager, an economic research analyst at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation in Washington. Mr. Nager says China is letting low-cost production shift out of the country and is focusing instead on capital-intensive industries such as steel and electronics where automation is a driving force.

China’s emergence as an automation hub contradicts many assumptions about robots. Read the rest of this entry »


Climate McCarthyism: The Scandal Grows

mouthFor Breitbart.com,  reports: Professor Lennart Bengtsson – the scientist at the heart of the “Climate McCarthyism” row – has hit back at his critics by accusing them of suppressing one of his studies for political reasons.

The paper, which Prof Bengtsson wrote with four co-authors, suggested that climate is probably less sensitive to greenhouse gases than is admitted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and that more research needs to be done to “reduce the underlying uncertainty”. However, when submitted for publication in the leading journal Environmental Research Letters, the paper failed the peer-review process and was rejected.

“It has the potential to do as much harm to climate science as did the Climategate emails.”

— Judith Curry

One of the peer-reviewers reportedly wrote:

‘It is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of “errors” and worse from the climate sceptics media side.’

This, Prof Bengtsson told the Times, was “utterly unacceptable” and “an indication of how science is gradually being influenced by political views.” Read the rest of this entry »


Domestic Terror U.S.A.: Georgia Tech Student Burned by Molotov Cocktail

Saamer-AkhshabiThe FBI says a Georgia Tech graduate student was burned by a Molotov cocktail at his apartment in the 200 block of 10th Street, not far from Piedmont Park.

Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones said Saamer Akhshabi suffered third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body. Lighter fluid and a charred pillow and mattress were found inside the apartment, along with the Molotov cocktail and several plastic bottles filled with gasoline and kerosene.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with the Atlanta Police Department and Atlanta Fire-Rescue are working to investigate the circumstances behind the incident. Homeland Security was also notified of the explosion.

Read the rest of this entry »