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Technology Development Practice Featured in Special Operations Technology


March 2, 2011

Exponent's Multi-Function Agile Remote Control Robot (MARCbot) was featured in Special Operations Technology in an article related to unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs.  Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are responsible for many of the thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of casualties suffered by U.S. and coalition forces since the invasion of Iraq. As one of the most dangerous tools in the insurgent’s arsenal, countless IEDs have disrupted convoys, destroyed coalition assets, and maimed and killed U.S. Soldiers throughout the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Exponent currently provides two robotic platforms to the US military: the MARCbot and the LVUSS (Long-Range Vehicle Undercarriage Surveillance System). The MARCbot is a robot that U.S. Army soldiers are currently using to help identify IEDs in Iraq. It was developed by Exponent for the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force to meet a critical operational need identified during combat operations as observed by Exponent employees in theater. Based upon the first Exponent robots sent to Afghanistan in 2002, the first improved MARCbot IIs for IED sweeps were initially sent to Iraq in May 2004. Spiral improvements were made in direct response to soldier feedback obtained from IED sweep missions, resulting in the current MARCbot IV configuration.

The LVUSS (Long-Range Vehicle Undercarriage Surveillance System) is a small robotic platform aimed squarely at inspection of vehicle undercarriages at ECPs, TCPs, and convoy mustering yards. The LVUSS is provided as a remote inspection platform allowing soldiers to achieve stand-off when trying to inspect underneath various foreign vehicles.  Designed in the field with soldiers in Iraq, LVUSS development tried to solve two current shortcomings in undervehicle inspection in the simplest platform possible: longer range remote inspection and inspection over very rough terrain such as muddy, rutted mustering yards.

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