September 17, 2005
The U.S. Department of Defense has ordered another 950 MTRS (Man Transportable Robotic System). These are like radio-control cars kids play with. But the military versions are more rugged, can climb up stairs and over rubble, and have video cameras, and an extendable arm that can grab things. The military systems cost $100,000 each. There are already 250 of these systems in use. Recently, a much cheaper MTRS, the $8,000 MARCBOT (Multi Function Agile Remote-Controlled Robot) received rave reviews from the troops. So much so that the original 30 evaluation models were augmented by an order for 270 more. But when it comes to roadside bombs, Congress has made a lot of money available. So its possible to order a lot of the more expensive robots as well. All MTRS can be used to check out objects that might be IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices, usually roadside bombs), and the troops have been most enthusiastic about this particular use of all types of MTRS.