Image credit: CNAS

April 27, 2018

What Happens When Your Bomb-Defusing Robot Becomes a Weapon

Featuring Robert O. Work, and Paul Scharre

Source: The Atlantic

Journalist Caroline Lester

Micah Xavier Johnson spent the last day of his life in a standoff, holed up in a Dallas community-college building. By that point, he had already shot 16 people. Negotiators were called in, but it was 2:30 in the morning and the police chief was tired. He’d lost two officers. Nine others were injured. Three of them would later die. In the early hours of July 7, 2016, the chief asked his swat team to come up with a plan that wouldn’t put anyone else in Johnson’s line of fire.

Within 30 minutes, their Remotec Andros Mark 5A-1, a four-wheeled robot made by Northrop Grumman, was on the scene. The Mark 5A-1 had originally been purchased for help with bomb disposal. But that morning, the police attached a pound of C4 explosives to the robot’s extended arm, and sent it down the hallway where Johnson had barricaded himself. The bomb killed him instantly. The machine remained functional.

Johnson had served in Afghanistan before being discharged. It’s possible that he recognized the robot before it blew him up.

Read the Full Article at The Atlantic


  • Robert O. Work

    Senior Counselor for Defense and Distinguished Senior Fellow for Defense and National Security

    Secretary Robert O. Work is the Distinguished Senior Fellow for Defense and National Security at the Center for a New American Security and the owner of TeamWork, LLC, which s...

  • Paul Scharre

    Vice President and Director of Studies

    Paul Scharre is the Vice President and Director of Studies at CNAS. He is the award-winning author of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. His firs...