IRobot gets $200M Army pact to supply robots, spare parts
Deal expands on earlier contract to supply robots based on PackBot technology
Computerworld - The U.S. Army today awarded iRobot Corp. a $200 million contract that calls for iRobot to supply the Army with military robots and spare parts as well as training and other services over the next five years.
The contract comes about four months after the expiration of an earlier Army pact that called for iRobot to build products based on its PackBot robot, which can rotate 360 degrees on track platforms and climb up stairs or over snow and rubble. The new contract isn't specific to one product, allowing the military to take advantage of other iRobot technologies.
"The continued investment from the U.S. Army further validates our robots' critical position in theater, allowing troops to complete missions successfully while keeping them at safe distances," said iRobot President Joe Dyer in a statement. "As the Army continues to utilize ground tactical robots with greater frequency, new applications for these robots are being identified."
The contract is the latest example of the U.S. military's moves to invest heavily in robotics technology.
Late this spring, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory awarded a $38 million contract to BAE Systems Inc. in Nashua, N.H., to design and build microrobots inspired by birds and insects. A small group of insect-size robots, for instance, would include one that captures video, another that records sound and another that senses chemical agents. Those robots would be sent into the field as a unit to gather information, share it amongst themselves and then send it back to a command center or a soldier as one unified message.
And last month, Tufts University announced that it had received $3.3 million in funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project to continue developing soft, squishy robots that can squeeze into spaces a fraction of their normal size and then morph back into their original size and shape.
IRobot, known widely for its line of Roomba vacuum cleaners, reports that it has delivered more than 1,700 PackBots to the military to date.
Read more about Hardware in Computerworld's Hardware Topic Center.
- An Insightful Approach to Optimizing Mainframe MLC Spend This paper discusses how you can penetrate the complexity of IBM mainframe MLC products and the MLC price model to gain insight into...
- Meeting the Exploding Demand for New IT Services In this eBook, explore the top trends driving the New IT for IT Service Management, and how leading organizations are evolving to focus...
- Hybrid IT-A Low-Risk Path from On-Premise to ITaaS This white paper provides a strategy to move part or all of your ITSM suite to the cloud as a stepping stone to...
- Paving the Windows XP Migration Path to Success Support for Windows XP has ended, leaving organizations with three choices: Windows 8, Windows 7 or a combination. With the right planning and...
- Increase Your Data Center IQ Discover how to improve network efficiency, lower IT costs and more proactively manage your physical, virtual and cloud environments.
- Optimize Data Center Resources and Plan for the Future Eliminate over-provisioning and capacity shortfalls with pro-active capacity optimization. Join us in the evolution from capacity monitoring to capacity optimization in your data... All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts