Growing Bomb Threats Spur Robot Development

WASHINGTON - A robotics developer with links to the Israeli military said it is launching development of an upgraded bomb-disposal robot.

InRob Tech Ltd. (Las Vegas), which develops wireless control systems for unmanned ground vehicles, said Tuesday (Nov. 22) it will begin developing a larger version of its bomb-disposal robot. The beefed up system will have a 130-lb. lifting capacity and will include an arm with at least five degrees of freedom.

InRob CEO Ben Tsur said he expects to begin development of the new robot by the second quarter of 2006. It will market the robot to military and police forces.

Other planned features include a turret that can rotate 360 degrees and will be equipped with a pan-and-tilt camera. The new robot will also be able to climb stairs, Tsur said.

A control panel will be connected to the vehicle either through a wireless link or a cable. The initial design will be battery powered, but a planned fuel system will add lifting capacity and range.

InRob, which also has a subsidiary in Israel, said it works with the Israeli Defense Forces, Israeli police and other security units.

The company has for several years offered a smaller bomb-disposal robot called the Hornet MK-5. "Our market research has also pointed to a real need for a larger system," Tsur said in a statement.