In the last fourteen years, the US Border Patrol has found more than 170 tunnels they believe are used for smuggling contraband between Mexico and the States. Since American law enforcers don't want to enter the tunnels themselves, they're sending in cute little robots to do their dirty work.
Apparently these pussies are concerned with things like "structural integrity" and "air quality" in tunnels made by servants of drug cartels. Can't be worse than the Ted Williams Tunnel, amirite Bostonians?
AP reports that Border Patrol agents are being spared the horrible charge of venturing into these underground deathtraps thanks to three new 12-pound robots the size of pizzas. Fitted with cameras and remote controls, they're just like other drones.
Classified as a Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), the "Pointman" by Applied Research Associates, Inc. is only 19 inches wide and resilient as a rodeo clown. Here's a more complete demonstration of their at-once-adorable-and-intimidating machine from their promotional page:
They can't exactly throw cuffs on a perp, but tunnel expert and Border Patrol Agent Kevin Hecht is convinced the machines will provide valuable perspective as to where and how smugglers are moving illicit items.
That is, of course, unless they become self-aware and figure out they can make way more money smuggling drugs themselves than working for the government.
It was reported that the three machines cost $109,000, and the money spent was sourced from an "asset forfeiture fund." That means, for those who believe in the system, that the talons of justice are being sharpened on the bad guy's dime.
Images: AP/Brian Skoloff