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American robots set to help police 2014 World Cup

Feb 21, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT

Robohub.com Robohub.com

If the U.S. national team head home early from the World Cup in Brazil this summer, there will still be a huge U.S. presence on the ground in South America… in the form of robots.

That’s right folks, iRobot, a Bedford, Massachusetts-based company, will supply 30 ‘Packbots’ to the Brazilian government in a $7.2 million deal, according to Robohub, as security is high on the agenda ahead of this summer’s World Cup. When contacted by NBC nobody was able to comment at iRobot.

However it is expected that the 12 host cities will share the high-tech machines to help boost security and examine any packages that are deemed to be suspicious. The PackBot system made its debut in Afghanistan in 2002 were it was used to help soldiers cross minefields and clear buildings. It has been used in Iraq and several other countries, with over 800 of the military robots providing much needed help across the world.

With plenty of unrest expected across Brazil this summer, due to huge anti-Government protests planned, it seems as though Brazil will need as much help as it can get to police the event properly. Helping out will be American robots strolling the street of Sao Paolo, and other cities, to help keep the tournament safe.

That’s pretty cool.

But these lightweight robots, which can be folded up into a backpack and weigh just 40lbs and can reach speeds of up to 9 miles/hour, are nothing compared to the huge military spending going on in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup. As we documented on PST back in the summer, the Qatari government has bought 118 tanks to helps with the policing of their World Cup tournament.

Anyway, having extra Americans on the soil in Brazil to give the hosts a helping hand is neat. Maybe the robots should be dressed in U.S. jerseys? Just a thought…

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