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iRobot has been awarded a contract for the delivery of its 110 FirstLook throwable unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to the US Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO).

iRobot military robots business unit interim general manager Tim Trainer said that FirstLook will change conducting of infantry and special operations missions much similar to how PackBot and SUGV robots changed the way explosive ordnance disposal missions were performed.

"iRobot has received very positive feedback from the field about FirstLook’s capabilities, and we are excited about the advantages this game-changing robot will provide to our troops, " Trainer added.

The 110 FirstLook is a small, throwable robot that provides dismounted troops with hasty situational awareness by relaying videos from confined spaces, tunnels and other potentially dangerous locations.

Weighing less than 5lb, the 110 FirstLook is ideally suited for a wide range of infantry and special operations missions, including building raids and other close-in scenarios.

Equipped with four built-in cameras, the robot features two-way audio communication with digital mesh networking capabilities and configurable video compression for providing multidirectional situational awareness over greater distances.

FirstLook robot, introduced in 2011, is engineered to survive drops from up to 15ft onto concrete and climbs steps up to 8 inches high, overcomes curbs and other obstacles, turns in place and self-rights when flipped over.

The robot uses Infra Red (IR) illumination to enhance low light and no light operations and also facilitates integration of specialised cameras, thermal imagers, chem-bio-radiation sensors as well as a range of disruptive payloads.

Deliveries of more than 100 robots under the $1.5m contract have been completed and the robots are scheduled to undergo an operational assessment in late 2012.

Image: iRobot’s 110 FirstLook throwable robot is capable of conducting infantry and special operations missions, including building raids. Photo: iRobot.