ROBOTICS: Army looks to ReconRobotics for military micro robots for infantry situational awareness

U.S. Army officials needed micro unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to equip four-to-six-soldier fire teams with video reconnaissance and situational awareness during route- and compound-clearing operations. They found their solution from ReconRobotics Inc. in Edina, Minn.

The Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., awarded ReconRobotics a $14 million contract to supply military micro robots for video reconnaissance missions. ReconRobotics offers the Recon Scout Throwbot, a 1.2-pound dumbbell-shaped rolling UGV that soldiers can throw into hazardous areas to gather video information.

The Recon Scout Throwbot and its derivatives can adjust themselves after they've been thrown into dangerous areas like roof tops, basements, and into the windows of suspicious buildings and relay video back to operators located at safe distances. The micro robots can take visible-light or infrared video for daylight or nighttime operations.

This is the third Pentagon contract to ReconRobotics in the past six months. Last October, the company won a $4.8 million contract for 315 Recon Scout XT micro-robot kits and SearchStick devices that convert the Throwbot into a pole camera. In August 2011, the company announced a series of contracts by the U.S. Military for 385 Recon Scout XT micro-robot kits and SearchSticks.

Army soldiers also can use the ReconRobotics micro-robots for applications such as inspecting vehicle undercarriages; clearing rooms, buildings, rooftops, and walled compounds; conducting quick reconnaissance of culverts, bunkers, and caves; remotely observing an outdoor environment such as a pathway; and evaluating suspected improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

ReconRobotics officials say soldiers can throw the device through a window, over a wall, and down stairs, or drop it from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for taking video. Operators control the micro-robot with a handheld operator control unit.

ReconRobotics will do the work on the contract in Edina, Minn., and should be finished by the end of May.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit ReconRobotics online at http://www.recon-scout.com.

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February 2014
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