Friday, August 12, 2005
gladiator military robot debuts
Friday, August 05, 2005
By Corilyn Shropshire, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
It could have been the Iraqi desert with the burning sun and dusty blue sky.
But instead of sand, it was a tidy asphalt surface in Uniontown yesterday, where a military-green robot resembling a large all-terrain vehicle climbed and tumbled over makeshift stacks of wood planks and piles of stone-filled dirt, preening before a crowd uttering "ohs" and "ahs".
Known as the Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle (TUGV), the six-wheeled combat robot spun around in circles displaying its strength and durability at what could have been its coming-out party-- the first public demonstration of the prototype designed and developed at Carnegie Mellon University and set to be built and manufactured at BAE Systems' Ground Vehicle Unit plant in Fayette County.
In February, CMU beat out defense giant Lockheed Martin for a $26.4 million Defense Department contract to produce a line of six Gladiator TUGV prototypes.
The goal is to build big remote-controlled reconnaissance robots capable of carrying out search-and-discovery missions in potentially hostile areas, to warn soldiers of the dangers ahead, and to protect them from mine fields, craters, trenches, hidden enemies or even greater threats such as chemical, biological or nuclear traps.
Eventually, the military hopes to arm the remote-controlled TUGVs with machine guns and other weapons, giving them the capacity to destroy enemy targets.