Sandia National Laboratories is hosting the 11th annual Western National Robot Rodeo, a thrilling four-day event where civilian and military bomb squad teams get practice using robots to defuse diverse, dangerous situations.
2015 Robot Rodeo: Bomb squads from across the country saddled up their robots and duked it out at the ninth annual Western National Robot Rodeo at Sandia National Laboratories. (Photo by Randy Montoya)
Albuquerque, May 17, 2017.- Robots are life-saving tools for these emergency response teams, providing them a buffer from danger. Ten teams from around the region will compete in 10 events to see who can use their robots the quickest and safest in realistic, simulated scenarios. The top three teams will receive trophies, but the bomb squads are mostly after bragging rights, said Jake Deuel, Sandia robotics manager and Robot Rodeo coordinator.
“The teams are usually frustrated with us by the second scenario, and that’s a good sign that we’ve developed challenging scenarios. If it’s easy, it’s a waste of their time,” said Deuel. “The whole point of the Robot Rodeo is to help these guys and gals understand where the operational edge of their equipment and procedures are, so that they don’t go over that edge during a real life call.”