US Army steps up robot investments

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Robotics manufacturer iRobot, which produces some of the machines used on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan, has reached a further funding agreement with the US Army worth US$6 million..

This latest award, from Boeing and Science Applications International Corporation, will accelerate the delivery of 25 Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) robots.

IRobot's Future Combat Systems contract with the US Army now totals approximately US$63 million.

The SUGVs are modelled after Boeing's PackBot, which is used in Iraq and Afghanistan to disarm explosive devices and search for hostile forces.

The robots feature a rugged lightweight body enabling a single soldier to carry and deploy the device quickly.

It is designed to enter secure areas which are either inaccessible or extremely risky for soldiers, and provide real-time intelligence while allowing the humans to maintain a safe distance from the enemy.

The images and information gained by the SUGV can rapidly be made available to human fighters via the Future Combat Systems network.

IRobot has delivered more than 1,400 PackBots to a broad range of military and civilian customers worldwide.

The company will help keep human fighters out of harm's way, according to Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairman of iRobot.
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