Sandia Labs News Releases

Annual Robot Rodeo at Sandia National Laboratories to help prepare first responders

Robot at Sandia's Robotic Vehicle Range

A robot navagating the terrain at Sandia's Robotic Vehicle Range.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Media representatives are welcome at the fifth annual Western National Robot Rodeo on Wednesday, May 25, from 8-10 a.m. at Sandia National Laboratories. The Robot Rodeo is a four-day, 10-event technical competition for bomb squads and other public safety organizations that use hazardous duty robots.

“This competition is designed to test not only the operator’s skills and confidence but to also  push the operators and the robots to their limits,” said Jake Deuel, Sandia robotics manager and one of the event organizers.

This year, teams will compete in a simulation of a tornado-damaged nuclear reactor. Tasks include quickly locating and moving simulated fuel rods, stopping the flow of radioactive water from running into the storm drain system and minimizing radioactive contamination on the robot.

Interested media should call Stephanie Holinka at 284-9227 prior to Tuesday, May 24, to be put on the badge list to attend the event. All media representatives must be U.S. citizens. They must be at the contractor gate on Eubank Boulevard (just south of the employee entrance gate) by 9 a.m./p.m. to caravan to the sites. Latecomers cannot be accommodated.

In another simulated scenario, teams will be asked to identify, locate and dispose of suspected hazardous material stored in a residential garage. Six teams are participating this year: Albuquerque Police Department, New Mexico State Police, Doña Ana County, Los Alamos Police Department, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and New Jersey State Police.

The rodeo is a partnership among Sandia’s Robotic and Security Systems Department, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Emergency Response Group and the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators Region II.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Stephanie Holinka,, 505-284-9227