Eight teams compete in creating robotic vehicles

Eight teams compete in creating robotic vehicles

Some day, wars will be fought in part with robotic vehicles that can navigate rough terrain and carry computerized capabilities for gathering intelligence and waging battle.

What else they will be able to do is part of a $6.4 million research project in which eight teams are competing to build the ideal prototype vehicle by next summer.

'Robotic systems will give future combat systems increased combat utility, deployability and endurance,' said Scott Fish, program manager for the Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle Program at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. 'Vehicles that do not need to accommodate a crew can be smaller, operate without frequent resupply and carry a larger payload.'

Fish said the robot units have to be robust, be capable of getting around or over fairly large obstacles, and dedicate a quarter of their weight to weapons payload.

The contractors working on the project are Battelle Memorial Institute of Richland, Wash.; Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh; General Dynamics Land Systems of Sterling Heights, Mich.; General Dynamics Robotic Systems Inc. of Westminster, Md.; iRobot Corp of Sommerville, Mass.; Lockheed Martin Corp.; Omnitech Robotics International LLC of Englewood, Colo.; and Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego.

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