The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has contracted iRobot to develop a new portable communications relay robot under the agency’s LANroid programme.

The LANroid programme aims to develop technologies to enable war fighters in dense urban environments to deploy and maintain a communications infrastructure, composed of relay robots.

The iRobot system will be small enough to allow a single soldier to carry multiple robots, robust enough to withstand being dropped and thrown into position and smart enough to autonomously detect and avoid obstacles.

The robot will be inexpensive to the point of disposability, iRobot says.

The financial details of the contract have not been revealed.

By staff writer