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Robot vision with integrated live mapping kit.

IRobot : 12 December, 2007  (New Product)
Rugged system with real time mapping capability succeeds in surveillance and reconnaissance trials.
iRobot has announced iRobot PackBot with Mapping Kit, a proven platform with a new payload designed to help warfighters, deftly manage the dangerous tasks of search, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. PackBot with Mapping Kit is the first field tested and deployed robot to integrate real-time mapping and semi-autonomous remote operational capabilities, delivering soldiers advanced situational awareness while they remain a safe distance from danger.

"PackBot with Mapping Kit utilises new technology that directly addresses the needs of modern warfighter and other first responders to safely gather crucial environmental intelligence without having to enter hazardous situations," said Vice Admiral Joe Dyer (US Navy, Ret), president of iRobot Government & Industrial Robots division. "We foresee it becoming an invaluable addition to small unmanned ground vehicle operations that require fast and reliable navigation capabilities in rugged environments."

The Mapping Kit payload technology is the result of years of advanced research and development at iRobot. Through a state-of-the-art combination of sensors and artificial intelligence, PackBot with Mapping Kit can relay a real-time two-dimensional structural map of the environment it is moving through back to its operator, while simultaneously detecting and avoiding obstacles in its path. The soldier still maintains control of the robot, but if an obstacle is encountered, PackBot is capable of autonomously changing course to avoid imminent collisions. This advanced autonomy enables the operator to navigate faster and smarter through unknown environments, increasing the safety and tempo of operations in time-critical situations.

The iRobot PackBot with Mapping Kit is available for purchase by governmental, industrial, and academic research and development labs for operational experimentation and evaluation. As part of the development project, iRobot is designing a highly-capable 3-D Flash Laser Radar sensor for unmanned ground vehicles with Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Advanced Scientific Concepts. This sensor technology will enable future advancements of the Mapping Kit to provide the warfighter with an increasingly robust and ruggedized mapping and obstacle avoidance capability.

To date, iRobot has delivered more than 1,200 PackBot robots 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.

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