The robots, which have seen action in Afghanistan and Iraq, will be part of a broad-spectrum security and surveillance effort designed to make the next World Cup "one of the most protected sports events in history."
This week iRobot, the maker of the military PackBot robot, announced that it had secured multimillion-dollar contracts with the organizers of next year’s World Cup, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro and 12 nearby host cities in Brazil. Alongside thousands of soldiers, thirty PackBot 510 robots will be deployed to provide extra security by allowing its operators to examine suspicious objects and environments from a safe distance. Each camera-equipped robot costs between US$100,000 and $200,000.
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What’s the Big Idea?
The cadre of PackBots is just one of several tools Brazilian officials plan to use in order to make the upcoming World Cup “one of the most protected sports events in history.” As part of a $900 million effort to beef up security and surveillance, local police will wear special facial-recognition glasses that will send images to a massive central database. Also, well ahead of the main event, more of that money will appear at next month’s FIFA Confederations Cup in the form of four Israeli-made drones.