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iRobot SUGV Early -- image courtesy Crave
iRobot and Boeing co-develop the new SUGV Early

The last time DailyTech covered iRobot, the company had made enhancements to its PackBot robot. The PackBot is a 44-pound tracked device that "listens" for enemy gunfire on the battlefield.

Using its Robot Enhanced Detection Outpost with Lasers (REDOWL) system, the Packbot can navigate through a battlefield and distinguish between enemy AK-47 gunfire and friendly M-16 gunfire via its six microphones. The Packbot -- when working in conjunction with an unmanned Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) hovering over a target area -- can then relay back to the operator the exact location of the enemy troops.

iRobot is now working in conjunction with Boeing on a next generation Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV). The SUGV Early vehicle will be designed for civil, commercial and military use, weigh less than 30 pounds and will be “backpackable.” In an effort to control the costs of the SUGV, off-the-shelf components will be used.

"The SUGV Early is light enough to be carried long distances and easy enough to operate so that we believe it could become a standard tool for infantry squads and SWAT teams," said Joe Dyer, president of iRobot Government & Industrial Robots. "By teaming with Boeing, we can leverage their system-of-system capabilities and global marketing strength to quickly get these life-saving robots into the hands of our troops, first responders and allies worldwide."

"We see ground robots as a major new growth market and iRobot, as the industry leader in this field, is our partner of choice to bring new robot technology to market," said Boeing Combat Systems VP Dennis Muilenburg.

The first SUGV Early robots will be delivered in 2008. iRobot will handle the design and manufacturing of the SUGV Early while Boeing will lend its hand in systems integration and global marketing.

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By BrightMoon on 4/24/2007 11:54:23 AM , Rating: 3
What happens if both sides use M-16s?
I think that REDOWL should use WiMax (or similiar technology) so that they may detect signals from friendly weapons activated with fingerprints.

Just a thought.

By TimberJon on 4/24/2007 12:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
They should just have auto-snipers connected to the system, with a human in charge of where the system marked someone, and to verify whether the robot-painted target is green or red based on their own troops locations. iRobot painted a target in a building window 3rd story? paint it red, and an autosniper will get an angle. Would be nice if they can get sniper rifles onto a VTOL or hover platform. R/C helicopter anyone? with collision avoidance.

They should just use a few lasers and rangefinders to sniff out an area where there is movement. So that if the lasers meet with the structure of a barrel interior, it will go evasive to throw that angle off. That could be processed pretty quickly.

By FITCamaro on 4/24/2007 12:32:10 PM , Rating: 2
We can also build a Death Star and threaten to destroy the planet if our demands aren't met wanted practical ideas....

*hides his plans for global domination in a Ronco portable safe*

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/24/2007 12:44:09 PM , Rating: 4
hmmmm, and what's not practical about a Death star. It roomy, mobile, and well fortified - expect against X-wing fighters and who has one of those???

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/24/2007 1:58:35 PM , Rating: 2
But what if something is painted Red and green, or orange (red and green mixed together)...Would that be friend, foe or Dr. Seuss?

By James Holden on 4/24/2007 2:16:11 PM , Rating: 2
Time to go back to art class dude!

Red and Green are complimentary colors! If you mix them you get mud. Red + Yellow = Orange.

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/24/2007 2:30:47 PM , Rating: 2
That's the easy way...If you have green, you have yellow. Start with red and add a little green at a time and you will come to orange in time. It will be a darker shade of orange, because if you put to much in it will be come brown (mud as you put it)...or at least it works that way in paints.

By nerdboy on 4/24/2007 1:31:14 PM , Rating: 2
They should have finger print recognition on the guns just like in Judge Dread and then when the enemy picks it up they shock them self’s or not work because I don't think the gun is capable of holding enough juice to shock everyone.

By djkrypplephite on 4/25/2007 12:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah that's not gonna happen. If both sides are fighting with M16's, we'll be fighting a different country, so we load a different audio file in place of the AK noise. Simple, IMO. Of course I didn't design the thing so it probably won't work in any logical way.

By Munkles on 4/25/2007 12:10:27 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldnt it just be far simpler to just have the thing preloaded with the majority of weapons sound profiles that way it could tell you not only good/bad but also what weapon your facing. Also a lot of the time, the enemy wont just be using one weapon. The US military doesnt so why should any other organized army, or any other enemy that has to get their weapons from wherever they can?

It should scale walls
By TimberJon on 4/24/2007 12:04:09 PM , Rating: 2
they should just make terrorizing tracked gattling-cannon, RPG and Rocket-laden robots like the design from T3, and let them go to work with a remote operator, storming through buildings and taking out the terrorists.

Don't know what to do about the RPG's however. Maybe auto-tracking narrow-spread shotguns..

RE: It should scale walls
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/24/2007 12:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
Two words for you, "laser Cannon"

RE: It should scale walls
By Griswold on 4/24/2007 12:19:43 PM , Rating: 2
One word for you, "shark"

RE: It should scale walls
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/24/2007 12:25:22 PM , Rating: 2
Is it too much to ask?

RE: It should scale walls
By FITCamaro on 4/24/2007 12:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
Three words for you. "On their foreheads."

RE: It should scale walls
By Rugar on 4/25/2007 9:22:33 AM , Rating: 2
Throw me a frickin bone here.

RE: It should scale walls
By TimberJon on 4/24/2007 12:28:21 PM , Rating: 2
Micro-Neutron Rocket

RE: It should scale walls
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/24/2007 12:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
No, I said, "Laser cannon"

RE: It should scale walls
By wrekd on 4/24/2007 1:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
And the robots should have and audio loop of:

"Somebody set up us the bomb!"

"All your base are belong to us!"

RE: It should scale walls
By timmiser on 4/26/2007 5:12:06 AM , Rating: 2
You have no chance to survive make your time.

Thats a cool TOY
By mrteddyears on 4/24/2007 11:47:58 AM , Rating: 3
Can it differentiate between beer types and bring it to me from the fridge (I am prepared to wait for the NACHO enhancement).

RE: Thats a cool TOY
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/24/2007 12:04:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it can differentiate between beers, however, no it can do is tell you it sees that the fridge is closed, unless you left it open then it can tell you, yes or no if there is beer in the fridge, but it would fail to deliver. Some improvements still needed. Maybe they could add a gun with a retractable suction cup dart. That way it could at least drag a beer back to you, and with strong enough suction it could open the fridge door.

RE: Thats a cool TOY
By mrteddyears on 4/25/2007 3:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
I belive you spotted something I didnt since I was half blind due to mixing beer and not being able to see.

Although the suction cup thing is a great idea maybe you could give them some feedback on that

RE: Thats a cool TOY
By BMFPitt on 4/24/2007 12:04:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm still waiting for one the does my laundry. Or at least puts it away.

RE: Thats a cool TOY
By allrighty on 4/24/2007 12:09:48 PM , Rating: 2
have they not learned from the movie ;)

RE: Thats a cool TOY
By FITCamaro on 4/24/2007 12:34:04 PM , Rating: 3
You loose that robot at age 18-20 (except for losers who stay live at home mooching off mom and dad). It's designation is M.O.M.

RE: Thats a cool TOY
By oTAL on 5/10/2007 2:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a looser and I still live at home.
Depends on you culture. In my country it is normal for you to live with your parents if your university is close to home (it is actually rare to move out under those circumstances).

I recently finished my studies and, like many of my friends, see no reason nor feel like I have the economic stability to move out. I have all the independence I need but I get to be integrated into a familiar environment, always have food in the fridge and have a maid that does the laundry for the whole family. Also, being Southern European, our family ties are stronger (think Latin America or Italy).

Economic conditions are also a large factor. Although I am rather successful for my age, I only make little over 1000€/month (which is quite good in Portugal) and I would have to live in a pretty lame house OR location to be able to afford it (a flat mate would make it more sustainable but a good one is hard to find...). Right now I prefer to live in a comfortable place, have little traffic to work, and save money so that I may leave home in a more comfortable and secure manner. Most people do exactly that and end up leaving home when they get married (which helps since they get the hole house equipped in wedding gifts).

It's a cultural thing. Could I do it? Yeah! But why live in a shit hole for years facing traffic everyday when I can save up and move out in a couple of years to a comfortable place.

Just to clear things up I am no looser by any stretch of the imagination. I have a 5-year electronics engineering graduation on one of the best universities in Europe (FEUP - I even teached there briefly, after graduating); a beautiful and intelligent girlfriend (a nurse, also living with her parents); and I have loads of friends having been quite popular throughout my university years.

That being said, I found your comment amusing and took no offense. :)

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