FCC Approves Miniature ‘Recon Scout’ for Police, Fire

The little surveillance robot, made by ReconRobotics Inc., can get tossed into buildings, around corners or into hazardous environments.
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For some time now, the military has been using the one-pound Recon Scout surveillance device in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Recon Scout Throwbot The little surveillance robot, made by ReconRobotics Inc., can get tossed into buildings, around corners or into hazardous environments and send out video data, keeping users away from harm.

Tuesday (Feb. 23) the FCC approved the device for limited domestic usage: for eligible law enforcement and emergency personnel, and only during emergency events or training.

The devices operate in a military spectrum, below 500 MHz.

Some amateur radio operators opposed the approval. And the National Telecommunication and Information Administration has concerns about too many of the devices in use. “If mass-marketed low-power consumer devices are permitted to operate in the 420-450 MHz band, this could adversely impact the performance of critical radar systems,” NTIA told the FCC.

So, the devices cannot be used within 30 kilometers of five specified Air Force radar stations. And only 2,000 may be sold in the first year of approval, and up to 8,000 in the next year, with commission reconsideration after that.

Police had argued that the device’s small profile provides the added advantage over other robotic surveillance units of being less obvious to suspects.

Units include the Throwbot, the IR (infra-red) and the XT, for cluttered or rough environments.

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