The vehicle will provide military, civil and commercial users with reconnaissance and secure real-time intelligence capabilities.
The SUGV Early is intended to be a smaller, lighter version of the iRobot PackBot, which is used daily in Iraq and Afghanistan to disarm improvised explosive devices and search buildings, caves and tunnels for hostile forces.
IRobot has delivered more than 900 PackBots to a broad range of military and civilian customers worldwide. The robots have performed tens of thousands of missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and are credited with saving soldiers' lives.
The remotely operated and highly manoeuvrable SUGV Early will feature a video camera and commercial electro-optics, infrared sensors mounted on an articulated arm and a track-driven chassis to allow it to negotiate rough terrain and stairs.
The 30-pound unit, which can be carried in a backpack, is designed for use in a wide range of hazardous situations, such as bomb disposal and disaster relief operations.
The system uses off-the-shelf technology and employs the basic design of future networked robotic systems currently under development for the US Army. It will be ready for delivery in 2008.
Dennis Muilenburg, vice president and general manager at Boeing Combat Systems, said: "The SUGV Early builds on lessons learned from users of the combat-proven iRobot PackBot, as well as experimentation using next-generation prototypes, to provide a solution that meets immediate warfighter, civilian and commercial needs."
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