U.S. Army May Field Ground Robot Earlier

SUGV - by Steve Harding (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army) 

The U.S. Army may accelerate the fielding of the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), a 30-pound, backpackable robot designed to beam electro-optical images from caves, buildings and other high-risk war zone areas.

Under development with iRobot under a $51 million deal as part of the Future Combat Systems effort, the SUGV is currently slated for fielding in 2012 as a spinout – technology planned to hit the force earlier than the first FCS Brigade Combat Team in 2015.

But the robots’ performance in tests — and the performance in Iraq and Afghanistan of similar, though lower-tech and remotely operated machines — has led FCS officials to consider moving the SUGV to the first set of spinouts to be ready in 2008 and deployed in 2010.

More info:  Defense News article

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