It’s a money thing. The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) plans to deploy three robots to patrol the far reaches of the former nuclear weapons testing installation, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced October 4. The first of three Mobile Detection Assessment Response System robots has begun operating at the former Nevada Test Site. The compact units are to be operated from the NNSS command facility. They are programmed to make their rounds at random and are equipped with sensors and video cameras that stream live images to their handlers. Operators would only issue commands when the autonomous robots came across something that required further examination. “The robots are a great addition to the NNSS protective force,” the NNSA Associate Administrator said in released remarks. “The robots allow us to improve security at remote portions of the Nevada National Security Site at reduced costs ... NNSA applauds NNSS in seeking ways [to] improve the way it does business while maintaining the highest security standards.” The units can travel as fast as 20 mph and can operate for over 12 hours without refueling. They monitor obstacles, locks and inventory through “radio frequency identification tags.” The units are anticipated to save $6 million by offsetting security infrastructure costs for motion sensors, cameras, lights and other equipment. They are also expected to save another $1 million yearly on security force and technology upkeep costs.

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