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The recent contest had 30 companies show off their unmanned vehicles

The U.S. Army is now testing robotic vehicles that may one day be able to protect soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. To help spur research, the Army recently held the Robotics Rode, offering companies the opportunity to show off future vehicles.

"We've all fought and we've lost friends on places where unmanned ground vehicles could have done the task equally well, and I regret that like you'll never know," said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch.  "If I had done a better job fielding unmanned ground vehicles, those young people would still be alive."

The event, which was held from September 1-4 at Fort Hood, Texas, gave 30 companies the opportunity to show off their autonomous robotics.  Each vehicle had to maneuver through several field demonstrators, with military and civilian judges on hand.

The military hopes that the vehicles can help evacuate wounded soldiers, serve as scouts to help locate ambushes, and intentionally set off improvised explosive devices hidden by insurgents.

There isn't a set time line as to when the military hopes to use these vehicles, but military experts say they need to be used as soon as possible.

At the same time of the Robotics Rodeo, the Army also tested several advanced battlefield technologies pulled from the now defunct Future Combat Systems program.  Soldiers on the battlefield will give Army officials feedback on the technology, and what they would request.





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