BURLINGTON, MA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- iRobot Corp. announced that the U.S. Army has accelerated its testing schedules for iRobot's Future Combat Systems (FCS) Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) robot development program. The updated plan calls for iRobot to deliver a total of 25 FCS SUGV robots by April 2008. The Army Evaluation Task Force will begin evaluation and testing of the robots in May 2008. This effort is intended to provide an early capability of SUGV to soldiers in the field. The SUGV Systems Development and Demonstration program will continue to mature the SUGV with its full network capability.
The initial soldier evaluations will determine the capabilities and limitations of the SUGV platform. These evaluations will support the Army's production decision, which is expected in September 2008. FCS will procure a select number of these early SUGV units and then transition to the full network-capable SUGV as scheduled by the FCS program.
"We continue to receive a tremendous amount of positive feedback from soldiers in theater that iRobot PackBot is an essential tool for ensuring mission readiness and improving situational awareness to keep soldiers out of harm's way," said Vice Admiral Joseph Dyer (U.S. Navy, Ret.), President of iRobot's Government & Industrial Robots Division. "We see this acceleration as clear evidence of the U.S. Army's recognition of the critical role robots play in arming soldiers with the best intelligence and combat options to provide clear advantage on the battlefield."
FCS SUGV is a tactical reconnaissance robot designed to assist soldiers in obtaining intelligence in dangerous or otherwise inaccessible areas. Modeled after the combat-proven iRobot PackBot, the SUGV offers multiple video sensors for real-time day/night tactical situational awareness. At just 30 pounds, SUGV's portability, modularity, and agility make it an essential component of the individual soldier's gear in the integrated FCS program.
iRobot is currently under contract agreement to develop the next-generation SUGV for the FCS program with Science Applications International Corp., which serves as the FCS Lead Systems Integrator with Boeing. This decision marks the first significant delivery of SUGVs to military customers.
To date, iRobot has delivered more than 1200 PackBot robots to a broad range of military and civilian customers worldwide.
iRobot Corp. is a provider of robots that perform dull, dirty, or dangerous missions in a better way. The company's proprietary technology, iRobot AWARE Robot Intelligence Systems, incorporates advanced concepts in navigation, mobility, manipulation, and artificial intelligence. This proprietary system enables iRobot to build behavior-based robots, including its family of consumer and military robots.