iRobot PackBot provides ruggedized situational awareness, semi-autonomous operation

BURLINGTON, Mass., 21 Dec. 2007. iRobot Corp. has introduced the iRobot PackBot with Mapping Kit, which provides a new payload designed to help warfighters manage 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.

Dec 21st, 2007

BURLINGTON, Mass., 21 Dec. 2007.iRobot Corp. has introduced the iRobot PackBot with Mapping Kit, which provides a new payload designed to help warfighters manage 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 utilizes 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," says Admiral Joe Dyer (U.S. 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."

Through a 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 maintains control of the robot, but if an obstacle is encountered, PackBot is capable of autonomously changing course to avoid imminent collisions. This autonomy enables the operator to navigate faster and smarter through unknown environments, increasing the safety and tempo of operations in time-critical situations.

As part of the development project, iRobot is designing a 3D 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.

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