OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma Highway Patrol now has a safer way of inspecting, removing and destroying bombs.
The patrol's bomb squad spent the last week learning about a new remote-controlled, armor-plated 750-pound robot.
``It's going to save lives, and it's going to save property,'' the patrol's John Harris said Tuesday.
The patrol's bomb squad went on 168 calls last year, recovering 845 pounds of explosives and 32 homemade bombs.
The $161,000 machine, purchased with a grant from the state District Attorneys Council, allows the squad to get rid of bombs without putting the lives of squad members in danger.
The olive-green machine moves slowly, but has enough dexterity to pick up a bottle of water and pour it into a cup.
``In our business, we try not to be in a hurry,'' said Kerry Pettingill, bomb squad commander. ``When you're in a hurry, you make mistakes.''
Such maneuvers are accomplished by combining an array of video equipment, a sophisticated guidance system and the latest in robotics technology.
The robot uses four cameras and beams video images back to a portable remote control box.
An extendible observation camera can look inside windows or give bomb squad technicians a general view of a scene.
A second camera is mounted between the wheels and a third camera is on the robot's arm.
A fourth camera is coupled with a laser sighting device that helps aim the robot's weapon. The weapon can use a high-pressure water stream to destroy a bomb. It can also fire solid projectiles.
The machine can also move on two sets of rubber tracks. The wheels can be removed quickly, allowing the machine to get through doors and tight spaces.
The patrol plans to buy a second robot for its Tulsa office. Similar machines are used by Oklahoma City and Tulsa police, and at Fort Sill.