What is one of the most popular uses for robots in the defence industry?
The military are big users of unmanned ground vehicles.
The US Marines recently added the FLIR Centaur robot to their ranks with an order for over 140 of the unmanned ground vehicles, plus spares.
Centaur is a medium-sized UGV that provides a standoff capability to detect, confirm, identify and dispose of hazards. Weighing-in at roughly 160lb, the open-architecture robot features an advanced EO/IR camera suite, a manipulator arm that reaches over six feet and the ability to climb stairs. Modular payloads can be used for CBRNE detection and other missions.
The Marines are in good company, as the US Air Force recently ordered nearly 200 Centaurs. But the US Army got their first, as they chose Endeavor Robotics in 2017, acquired a year ago by FLIR, as its medium-sized robot provider for MTRS Inc II. The company designed the all-new Centaur as its MTRS solution. FLIR is delivering robots in a deal worth $150m, including options.
“Centaur gives the Marines a multipurpose, mid-sized UGV that will complement the FLIR PackBot, SUGV and FirstLook robots we continue to provide to the Corps,” said David Ray, president of the Government & Defense Technologies business at FLIR. “We’re honored the Air Force and now Marines are choosing Centaur as an EOD platform-of-choice, and pleased the US Army MTRS Inc II program can serve as a procurement channel.”
Expect UGVs to increasingly do much of the grunt work for the military.