One of the most widespread and popular models in RobCo Industries' catalog, the Protectron was designed as an inexpensive work drone, capable of performing a wide variety of tasks from construction, through security, to office duties. It's a compact, bipedal work drone with a pair of manipulators and integrated lasers for self-defense. The large dome contains the primary optic sensors (usually three) and the central processing unit that contains the robot's synthetic personality. For ease of maintenance, the Protectron is typically powered by a fission battery. As it was not intended for combat, at least not as a direct combatant, the Protectron only has a thin alloyed shell meant to protect its internal components from the environment and damage that could be sustained in the course of its duties. The head assembly is typically shielded by a semi-transparent or opaque dome from reinforced glass, though various hardware modifications were introduced before the war to enhance its effectiveness.
Numerous variants of the Protectron were available on the market, due to the its reliability and flexibility. Apart from the standard body, RobCo also offered construction drones with a shielded, reinforced head, emergency light, and internal power tools like nailguns, firefighter models with an internal cryo gun for fire suppression and additional protection from fire and debris, medic units with built-in defibrillators, and reinforced police models with tasers, stronger servomotors, and armored head. Even factory models could be customized with a variety of software and synthetic personalities to enhance its performance, making it a popular choice for both the private and public sectors. These included the R04 V9 "Office Helper" personality with integrated office protocols and scheduling software, RS3 V4.1.6 "Utility Helper" with remote maintenance routine download capability and pest extermination programs, and the RX2 V1.16.4 "Vault Helper", with all the necessary Vault protocols. Protectrons usually came with a special pod, for storage, maintenance, and recharging, and the Standard Protectron Control Interface v2.40 installed on terminals connected to the pod and responsible for controlling Protectrons slaved to it.
The introduction of the Protectron had a deleterious effect on the situation of workers in the United States. The efficiency and reliability of the Protectron made it a fantastic, tireless laborer easily displacing blue-collar workers, even in industries not affected by the ongoing war. Although companies would deny that the introduction of robotic workers was meant to replace human workers, the reality was that any company where Protectrons or other robots were introduced would soon see mass layoffs. In one particular instance, a Pittsburgh steel mill decided to lay off all of its workers citing budget cuts and the need to shut the plant down. When the workers started an occupation strike, the company simply allowed the new Protectron fleet to enter the facility and gun down the striking workers down to the last man.
Many protectrons in various areas have been programmed differently. Other protectrons have even been supplied with sophisticated personalities, such as Primm Slim or Vendortron, but these are exceptions.
A protectron with the basic personality loaded on it can execute "sequences," lists of tasks to complete, such as patrolling an area for intruders. Some sequences may have been added by RobCo Industries, whereas others were written by robotics technicians at locations where they are used. When not in use, a protectron unit is stored in a base pod, which charges its battery. The protectron is connected to its base pod via radio uplink, and the pod is in turn connected to a control terminal or a computer system. Protectrons can be customized via software upgrades to perform specific functions, even outside their purpose. Such is the case with Fisto, a pre-War security bot who can be repurposed for sexual pursuits using the sex-bot holotape from Ralph at Mick & Ralph's, or the computer terminal in Cerulean Robotics for James Garret in Freeside during the quest Wang Dang Atomic Tango.
There is also a non-functional prototype of the protectron named Protect-O-Bot, which can be found in the REPCONN headquarters museum, with wheels rather than normal legs, a dynamo accelerator, and a more car-type design.
Protectrons have about the same amount of health as an average human combatant but are much slower, making them less lethal. Their metal bodies provide them with a decent amount of protection; a DT of 8. They are equipped with a series of three built-in laser emitters, mounted in their right and left "hands," as well as the glowing dome atop their head. Unlike humans, protectrons do not take extra damage from headshots, although certain perks (such as Sniper) still make it advantageous to aim for the head.
Like most robots, protectrons are much rarer in the Mojave Wasteland than in the Capital Wasteland. They are not found wandering the Wasteland at random, and are only encountered protecting a handful of intact pre-War facilities.
Protectrons, being one of the weaker robots in Fallout: New Vegas, can be destroyed with most low-level weapons or explosives. Despite being somewhat more durable than the typical raider, their poor armor means their lifespan is likely to be quite short. They are gray by default, but often come painted or manufactured with colored parts depending on where they are found.
They have three laser weapons built into their frame, one in each arm and another one in their head. They are hardly the best shots, although sustained fire can put a dent in the player character's health. The individual firepower in its laser weapons is greater than a laser rifle.
Like most robots, the protectron has a combat inhibitor on its back. Crippling this part of the robot will cause it to frenzy and start attacking all targets indiscriminately.
The Protectron is one of the weaker robots found in the Mojave Wasteland. They do not pose much of a threat, due to their slow speed as well as their weak damage. They are equipped with hand and head lasers, so if one weapon is disabled, the robot is still combat effective. They are not as commonly found as they were in Fallout 3; in Fallout: New Vegas they only patrol some office buildings and the Securitron vault.
Shipping workers are robots that were designed to automate previously human-held shipping positioned in the Sunset Sarsaparilla headquarters. Two operational examples of this variant are found patrolling the large room of the factory with the bottle cap press machine. The same tactics work on them as well as normal protectrons. Once killed, scrap metal, energy cells and fission batteries may be found on their bodies. Several broken shipping workers are found throughout the headquarters, with each containing the same loot.
These slight tougher variants of the Protectron were the envoy of the Sunset Sarsaparilla headquarters' automated robot security. Three security bots can be found patrolling inside the halls of the Sunset Sarsaparilla plant, defending it's secrets from all outside threats, while others that are already disabled by previous visitors can be searched for ammo and components.
The Mark series of protectrons were an attempt by the Big MT company to reproduce, as well as improve, the protectrons produced by RobCo Industries before the war. The "Mark" that is spawned depends on the player's level. The Mark I protectron is more sturdy than the RobCo models, the one exception being the one for security purposes at Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters, but the Mark II upwards are all more durable than other models. However, the firepower on all models remains the same.
Unlike the variants found in the Mojave, protectrons in Big MT have a higher DT.
A construction drone is a type of robot used in the Big MT. They were made as an alternative to human labor to manufacture the various structures and machinery seen in the Big MT. Due to their programming as a defensive robot, they also provide their own jobsite security, and are still operating long after the Great War.
The protectron target drone is a protectron model in the Forbidden Zone dome. They have the unique role of being targets for the X-42 giant robo-scorpion, and thus acting as a distraction that is usable by the Courier in their confrontation with the giant robo-scorpion.
The protectrons of Fallout: New Vegas have a smoother, more automatic voice than those of Fallout 3.
Just like the sentry bots, the protectron has a melee function implemented, but doesn't use it in close combat either because it doesn't have an animation to script it, or because it relies on the more damaging laser weaponry.
↑The Courier: "The display case is empty. The gun's missing." Primm Slim: "Have you gone loco, pardner? I can see the gun with my own three photo sensors from where I'm standing right now. [You hear strange sounds coming from Primm Slim. He may be trying to read a corrupted file, but it would take more science knowledge to be sure.]" (Primm Slim's dialogue)
↑The Lone Wanderer: "Any clue where I can find a Fission Battery?" Butcher: "When we passed the maintenance room, I spied a deactivated Protectron inside. Just wrench open its access panel and you'll find it." (Butcher's dialogue)
↑Supply plant terminals; Terminal, Private Entry #2: "I've managed to delay a rather large shipment of Protectrons today. I told management that we've been having problems with the previous batch of robots and are not prepared for another batch anytime soon. This is complete bullshit of course, the robots work perfectly. They outperform our best worker by a factor of five. The men continue to lose morale day after day. Some blame me, but they don't understand that this is completely out of my hands. I am doing everything I can to help these men keep their jobs. Tom McMullin Supply Plant Supervisor"
↑Supply plant terminals; Terminal, Regarding New Protectrons: "There have been several complaints in the past couple of weeks regarding the new Factory Protectrons installed throughout the plant. Some of you feel this is the first step in the long process of phasing out the human aspect of the plant. Please be assured that this is not our intention. The new Protectrons are here only to protect you, the workers. Also, please remember to carry your ID with you at all times. The Protectrons are programmed to make sure those present in the plant are valid employees. - Management"
↑Supply plant terminals; Terminal, Private Entry #1: "I brought it up with Management today that the men down at the plant aren't taking the new shipment of robots lightly. They fear losing their jobs and I don't blame them. It's my job to make sure morale stays high no matter what happens. It's hard to look each man in the eye and tell him that he has nothing to worry about even though I very well know he'll be unemployed in less than a month. I don't know how long I can continue to lie to these men. Tom McMullin Supply Plant Supervisor"
↑Supply plant terminals; Terminal, Private Entry #3: "Management made a surprise visit to the plant today. I guess they stopped believing what I've been telling them about the robots not performing to standards. They saw first hand the speed and efficiency of the robots. Unfortunately, they also caught two employees in the act of tearing apart a Protectron and smashing it with a sledgehammer. I was to blame of course. The men are starting to believe I'm working closely with the managers and helping them in every way possible to save my own skin. Tom McMullin Supply Plant Supervisor"
↑Supply plant terminals; Terminal, Private Entry #4: "News broke out today over the loud speakers that everyone needs to vacate the plant by 1 PM. "Due to budget cuts, this plant is shutting down." The men knew at once there was no budget cut. They ultimately decided I was to blame, having seniority in this section of the plant. As soon as I heard the news, I grabbed my pistol and made for the exit. It was quickly barricaded. I turned around and ran into this utility closet and locked the door behind me. I'll stay in here until the men go home. Tom McMullin Supply Plant Supervisor"
↑Supply plant terminals; Terminal, Private Entry #5: "The men won't leave. They're determined to wait until I come out. Probably going to give me one hell of a beating, that I'm sure of. I wish they understood how hard I worked for them, how I used every opportunity to delay the inevitable. They better get going though, it's almost 1 PM. The robots will be here in a half hour, sooner if management hears of what's happening. Tom McMullin Supply Plant Supervisor"
↑Supply plant terminals; Terminal, Private Entry #6: "I begged them to leave before the robots got here. They laughed and said they'd take care of the robots, it's me they wanted. Then came the familiar rattle of a Protectron. That got their attention. I soon heard laughter, cursing, and screaming down the hall. I opened the door and stepped outside. A couple of the workers burst around the corner screaming for help. A red laser lashed out from down the hall and severed Tim's right arm in two. I panicked and ran back into the closet and shut the door. The men slammed into the door and begged me to open it. I didn't say a word, just sat stunned, listening to their screams of agony as the robot finished them off one by one. Then silence. I put my ear to the door and listened. I heard the clanking of Protectron feet down the hall. I grabbed my pistol and backed away from the door. No way am I opening this door for anyone or anything! Whoever reads this, let it be known that I did everything in my power to keep everyone's job at the plant. And let this be an example of how not to replace humans with machines. Tom McMullin Supply Plant Supervisor"