Brazil Signs $7.2M Deal With U.S.'s iRobot; 30 Military Robots To Protect World Cup Venues
Brazil has secured a $7.2M deal with U.S.-based iRobot, a company that "makes defence and security robots for the American military," according to the IANS. The company will create 30 robots called PackBots "tasked with protecting and monitoring 12 cities" during the World Cup. The robots are "pre-programmed to analyse suspicious looking objects." They will "start monitoring from June" in the run-up to the World Cup. Each "robot can fit in a backpack, reach up to nine miles per hour whilst traversing all kinds of terrain and can travel in water up to two metres deep." PackBot's other attributes include a "state-of-the-art GPS, video image display, system monitoring, electronic compass and temperature sensors." The PackBot system debuted in '02 in Afghanistan (IANS, 3/19).
MILITARY AIRPORTS AVAILABLE: The AFP reported Brazil Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said that the country will make its military airports "available for the team planes of the World Cup participants." Rebelo: "If team delegations use military airports, this will take a lot of pressure off civil airports." Rebelo called "predictions of chaos at Brazilian airports during the World Cup 'nightmare prophecies.'" He pointed out that during recent Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, "those cities hosted approximately twice as many tourists as they will welcome during the World Cup" (AFP, 3/18).