As the final hours before "sequester" ticked away Thursday, another "ticking" sounds was heard deep within the Pentagon halls -- the clickety-clacking of military robotics contracts being awarded.
The Department of Defense announced a pair of such contracts on Thursday. Of the two, U.S. firm iRobot won the slightly larger award, a $14.4 million contract to supply an unspecified number of the new FirstLook "throwable" robots, along with spare-parts kits and robot accessories.
Weighing in at 5.4 pounds, and dimensioned 4 inches tall by 10 inches long by 9 inches wide, the FirstLook is a tough little robot that looks like a mini PackBot. It is designed to be tossed through windows and through other confined access points to spy out what's inside through the lenses of four built-in cameras that wirelessly transmit data back to the operator.
A second robotics contract went to the U.K.'s QinetiQ, which has been asked to supply similar Dragon Runner-10 Micro Unmanned Ground Vehicles (MUGVs), along with spare parts, for a total sum of $12.9 million. The DR10s are somewhat larger and heavier than the FirstLooks -- 5.8 inches tall by 15 inches long by 13.5 inches wide, and weighing 10 pounds. QinetiQ has designed these, too, as throwable robots for checking out confined spaces from a safe distance.
The two sets of warbots are scheduled to arrive within just days of each other, with iRobot's FirstLooks being delivered Aug. 20, and QinetiQ's DR10s arriving Aug. 25.
The article Pentagon Buys $27 Million Worth of Warbots Ahead of Sequester Date originally appeared on Fool.com.
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