Mass. Company Sending Robots To Japan

BEDFORD (CBS) — The Bedford, Mass. company i-Robot is about to be on the frontlines of Japan‘s nuclear crisis.

Japanese officials asked for help from the company and -iRobot is sending two “Warriors” and two “Packbots.” Together they’re worth about $750,000. Six volunteers will also go over to help train people how to use the robots.

Exactly how the robots will be used hasn’t been determined yet, but company officials say they’re ready for anything. The “Packbot” comes with a hazmat package and can detect chemical, biological and radiological elements.

The “Warrior” is for areas that are tough to get to, like rugged terrain and through rubble, even up stairs.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports.

“One of the main purposes of these robots is to save lives,” said Alex Wong, a software engineer at the company. “Over the last couple of days we’ve heard of humans going into the nuclear reactor area with lots of radiation.”

On Friday the International Atomic Energy Agency upgraded the level of severity at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after more failed attempts to cool down its reactors.

Using the robots, says Wong, will let operators stay at a safe distance while investigating nuclear situations or conducting search and rescue operations. The robots have been used by the military for some time and have survived through some of the roughest terrain.

i-Robot says its impossible to know how radiation will effect the robots.

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