Bomb-Sniffing PackBot UGVs to be fitted with Fido Sensors

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The Fido sensor detects explosives’ vapors emanating from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). These sensors were tested in Iraq in 2006 and will soon be deployed on some 100 new PackBot 500 unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) robots ordered by the US Navy, managing the servcies’ robotics programs.


The PackBot is equipped with a highly dexterous, 7-foot arm carrying the Fido sensor head and a communications interface sending explosive detection results to the Packbot Operator Control Unit (OCU). This integration model allows the Fido detector to be removed and utilized for general handheld operations in addition to the remote applications made possible by the Packbot. The manipulator arm allows the robot to place the explosive sensor close to suspicious packages and other objects, reach through car windows and under vehicles. When an explosive is detected, PackBot can use its on-board capabilities to destroy IEDs, while warfighters remain out of harm’s way.

“The sensitivity of the Fido explosives ‘sniffer’ is comparable to that of highly trained bomb dogs, and integrating this advanced detection capability with the versatile iRobot PackBot robots will help keep soldiers out of harm’s way,” said Colin Cumming, chief technology officer of ICx Technologies.

Inspired by the ability of bomb sniffing dogs to detect explosives, the ICx Fido Explosives Detector has the advantage of being both ultra-sensitive and capable of quickly screening packages, facilities, people and vehicles for traces of explosives. The breakthrough sensing technology behind the Fido detector supports both particle and vapor detection and allows operators the versatility and portability necessary for diverse detection and screening scenarios.