iRobot's LANdroids Win Military Contract - InformationWeek
Hardware & Infrastructure
10:39 AM

iRobot's LANdroids Win Military Contract

The LANdroids will be small enough so a single soldier can carry multiple robots, inexpensive enough to be disposable, and "smart" enough to avoid obstacles.

iRobot announced Monday that it has won a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency to develop a small robot with tank treads that can communicate in urban settings.

The company said the devices, called LANdroids, will be small enough so a single dismounted soldier can carry multiple robots and inexpensive enough to be disposable. LANdroids can be thrown into position, will use a mesh network to communicate, and will be "smart" enough to avoid obstacles, iRobot said.

In its contract solicitation, DARPA said: "The goal is to create small, inexpensive, smart robotic radio relay nodes that dismounted war fighters drop as they deploy in urban settings. The nodes then self-configure and form a mesh network."

DARPA said it's looking for stable performance from the LANdroids similar to that found in cell phones, with eventual production cost per unit to be $100. "Dismounted war fighters," DARPA said, "must be able to drop and go -- benefiting from the infrastructure while it is in place but not being required to move back into harm's way to retrieve the robots."

The LANdroids could wander around on their own as they self configure to create efficient networks and then self-correct when another LANdroid in the network is blown up or otherwise disabled.

Helen Greiner, co-founder and chairman of iRobot, pointed out that more than 1,300 of the company's PackBot robots have been delivered to troops around the world. In a statement, she said: "Research and development awards such as the DARPA LANdroids program enable us to continue driving innovation toward the next-generation of revolutionary mobile, tactical combat robots that deliver advanced situational awareness and help keep warfighters out of harm's way."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll