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DARPA order for the development of disposable military robots.

IRobot : 04 March, 2008  (Application Story)
Communication relay robots for the American military service to be designed by iRobot to meet specific criteria including low unit cost.
iRobot has received an award under the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) LANdroids program. Through this multi-year robotics research and development program, iRobot will develop a new portable communications relay robot that is small, inexpensive, intelligent and robust. The new effort takes advantage of the company's extensive experience in mobile robot design and production.

"More than 1,300 of iRobot's field-tested and combat-proven PackBot robots have been deployed in theatre delivering mission-critical support to soldiers around the globe," said Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairman of iRobot.

"Research and development awards such as the DARPA LANdroids program enable us to continue driving innovation towards the next-generation of revolutionary mobile, tactical combat robots that deliver advanced situational awareness and help keep soldiers out of harm's way."

The goal of the DARPA LANdroids program is to develop technologies to enable the soldier operating in dense urban environments to rapidly deploy and maintain a vital communications infrastructure. This infrastructure is composed of a system of multiple LANdroids mobile communications relay robots that form a reconfigurable communications backbone in support of operations.
During this program, iRobot will design and develop the LANdroids robot. This robot will be small enough that a single dismounted soldier can carry multiple robots, inexpensive to the point of being disposable, robust enough to allow the warfighter to drop and throw them into position, and smart enough to autonomously detect and avoid obstacles while navigating in the urban environment.

DARPA is the central R&D organisation for the Department of Defence (DoD) dedicated to sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research and development that maintains the high level of technological development of the US military.
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