Robots are the latest technological tool being employed by U.S. Border Patrol in the fight against drug cartels and smugglers. According to Homeland Security Newswire, three of the four robots currently being used by the agency are assigned to the Nogales, Arizona border.

In a New York Times report cited by Homeland Security Newswire, U.S. Border Patrol uses the robots to patrol the city’s underground drainage tunnels, which are frequently used to transport drugs across the border. The robots are used primarily for risk assessment.

“If we find a tunnel, we like to send a robot into clear the tunnel and identify any threats, contraband, potential people with weapons, and let the agent know ahead of time if the tunnel is structurally sound,” said Border Patrol agent Kevin Hecht.

The wireless robots used by U.S. Border Patrol are capable of mapping tunnels up to 50 feet below the border, Homeland Security Newswire said. Each robot has a Robotic Intelligence Kernel (RIK), which enables it to assess immediate surroundings and conduct autonomous movements in the field. The robots were designed at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

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