Boeing (NYSE:BA) and iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ:IRBT) are teaming to design and develop ‘SUGV Early’, a small unmanned ground vehicle designed for reconnaissance and intelligence capabilities for military and civil applications.

Early will be a smaller, lighter version of the PackBot, currently operational with US forces and EOD units worldwide. The new SUGV will carry a video camera and commercial electro-optics, infrared sensors mounted on an articulated manipulator arm and a track-driven chassis that will allow it to negotiate rough terrain and stairs.

The 30-pound (13.6 kg) backpackable unit will utilizes commercial off-the- shelf technology and employ the basic design of future networked robotic systems currently under development for the U.S. Army, will be ready for delivery in 2008.

Under the agreement, Boeing will provide expertise in systems integration, large volume production and global marketing for the iRobot designed robots. Both companies will jointly offer these commercial robots to all U.S. Department of Defense, civil and international markets. “By teaming with Boeing, we can leverage their system-of-system capabilities and global marketing strength to quickly get these life-saving robots into the hands of our troops, first responders and allies worldwide.” said Vice Adm. Joe Dyer (U.S. Navy, Ret.), president of iRobot Government and Industrial Robots.

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