Mobile robots neutralize bombs for U.S. Military
Remote-controlled robots are currently being deployed to the Middle East, as part of a battle plan to keep soldiers safe from exploding bombs. Called BomBots, the robots travel through war zones to detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs), without exposing the operator to danger. Each BomBot consists of a compact truck (22 by 20 by 18 ins.) that can travel up to 35 m.p.h. The robot can transport up to 10 lbs. of explosives to a suspected IED, drop off the explosives, and move away to allow detonation by operators remote control. Onboard equipment includes a color camera that provides operator with 360 visibility of the bomb site. To help develop, test, and evaluate the robots, the U.S. military partnered with the West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation. In turn, the Foundation joined forces with its subsidiary, Innovative Response Technologies, Inc. (Fairmont, WV), to manufacture the robots, as part of a $9.6 million contract from the U.S. Navy. Cost of each Bombot is estimated at $5,000, which represents an economical alternative to earlier versions of robots that cost from $100,000 to $150,000.