US Army shops at iRobot

Credit: iRobot
Credit: iRobot

And they’re buying not one, not two, not even three!

The U.S Army TACOM Contracting Center are placing an order for 489 iRobot PackBot 510 with FasTac Kit robots by March 31 of next year.

iRobot, also known for its Roomba vacuums, announced on Tuesday that they received an order for $35.3M-worth of robots that’ll help soldiers survey and evaluate dangerous areas. This order is said to be a part of an overall contract that’s worth $286 million.

“This order is truly a significant milestone for iRobot,” Joe Dyer, president of iRobot government and industrial robots unit, said in a statement.

“Not only is it the single largest order we have ever received from the military, but it also proves that there is strong and continuing support for our PackBot FasTac platform that was introduced just last year.”

So what exactly does the PackBot 510 with FasTac kit do?

With the soldiers controlling it through a laptop with a game-style controller from a safe distance, the robot can survey and evaluate dangerous conditions and then clear those areas for the soldiers to proceed. The PackBot 510 has a compact arm and gripper that can pick up suspicious objects so soldiers can examine them.

The robot can move up to 5.8 mph and can last up to four hours. These robots are already being used in lraq to dispose roadside bombs and other hazards.