updated 02:10 am EDT, Tue April 24, 2007
SUGV Early robot coming
iRobot and Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems unit on Tuesday announced an agreement to develop and deliver a new, next-generation Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) to military, civil and commercial users. Weighing less than 30 pounds, the SUGV Early robot will enable users to remotely conduct reconnaissance and secure realtime intelligence. The companies said that they will use Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) technology to the greatest extent possible to rapidly produce and deploy the new robot, which is expected to be in production and ready for delivery in 2008.
The SUGV Early will be a smaller, lighter version of the iRobot PackBot, which was updated earlier this year and is being used in Iraq and Afghanistan to safely disarm Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and search buildings, caves and tunnels for hostile forces. The SUGV Early's smaller size and advanced capabilities, the companies claim, will allow life-saving robotic technology to be used by a far broader group of users than the current PackBot.
According to the release, more than 900 iRobot PackBot robots have been delivered to a broad range of military and civilian customers worldwide.