We are a few years away from that although a lot of work is going on to make that happen. Many police SWAT teams have already started using robots for reconnaissance in dangerous situations. (Mississippi State’s CAVS Center helps Starkville police go high-tech with drones)
In grad school, I was working on a similar topic. Here is a paper that I published in the top conference for this field – AAMAS (Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems): Page on umbc.edu. Besides, in my robotics class, guys from DARPA would bring us a variety of robots. They demonstrated such tactical stuff on the field and could defuse bombs even a decade ago. I have also interned a summer at a company that built some backend for communicating among intelligent systems.
Since then autonomous vehicles (Drones) have been routinely used in defence applications (Autonomous Robots in SWAT Applications: Research, Design, and Operations Challenges). It is used in places like Afghanistan.
The problem is that these are too error-prone to use in a hostage situation, especially when they are alone. However, there are already various labs which are in the process of testing out these solutions assisted by humans. Discoveries from integrating robots into SWAT team training exercises – describes a scenario of robotic assistance to the SWAT team (below).
Various challenges for robots of today:
- Many SWAT operations require dynamic entry methods (as opposed to the slower Methodical entry methods) which are way too complex.
- Humans are often better suited to a complex environment with a lot of different inputs.
- Robots are still not good at manoeuvring in situations that SWAT operates.
- They are still noisy and have low fault tolerance.
We are a few years away from a full-scale operation mounted by autonomous robots. But, we are likely to see a lot of hybrid robot-human interactions in the future. Promo video from a Howe & Howe technologies that sells such robots to the police.