Swimming with the sheriff’s robot

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office in January acquired an underwater robot for rescue and recovery operations that take place … well, underwater.

The robot basically is used for recon and to find drowning victims in environments and situations that may be too risky for human divers.

The sheriff’s office demo’d the robot this morning at a south Everett community pool.

I’m planning a story later this month.

Here are some fun notes for now:

Its name is Batman.

When dignitaries go on boats for big public events, the boats, including the hulls, have to be “swept” for dangers like any other building, sheriff’s Lt. Rodney Rochon said. The robot can do that faster and cheaper than a bunch of divers.

The robot costs about $40,000 and was grant-funded. It has the ability to record video, but the sheriff’s office didn’t add that feature yet for cost reasons.

The robot has been deployed twice so far. Once to the Snohomish River and once to Silver Lake.

Its controller is a PS2 controller.

It’s a similar model to the robot they used in the movie “Titanic.”

We’ll have awesome underwater shots from Herald photographer Mark Mulligan when the story runs.

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