In Afghanistan and Iraq, iRobot PackBots disarm explosives and seek out enemy forces.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, iRobot PackBots disarm explosives and seek out enemy forces.


Researchers at The Boeing Co., Chicago, and iRobot Corp., Burlington, Mass., will develop a small, unmanned ground vehicle (SUGV) for reconnaissance and securing real-time intelligence.

The so-called Early will be a smaller, lighter version of the iRobot PackBot, which is used in Iraq and Afghanistan to disarm explosives and search buildings, caves, and tunnels for hostile forces. The remotely operated vehicle will have a video camera with commercial electro-optics, infrared sensors mounted on an articulated manipulator arm, and a track-driven chassis for rough terrain and stairs. The vehicles should be ready for delivery next year.