iRobot Corp., BURLINGTON, Mass: iRobot Corp. today announced that its funding for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program has increased to $37.3 million. iRobot is charged with developing a next-generation Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) for the groundbreaking FCS program. The funding will allow iRobot to increase its SUGV team to 32 people within its Government & Industrial Robotics division and accelerate the development cycle. The increase will cover computer modeling and simulation as well as field studies.  
 
The Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle is a portable, reconnaissance and tactical robot designed to assist in close quarters combat. It can enter and secure areas that are either inaccessible or too dangerous for humans, providing real-time intelligence while allowing the soldiers to stay out of harm's way. iRobot is under contract with Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), which serves as the FCS Lead Systems Integrator with Boeing.  
 
“The success of existing small robots already on the battlefield, such as iRobot's PackBot, has raised demand for these intelligent, unmanned vehicles and given us invaluable feedback on ways to continue improving them,” said Vice Admiral Joseph Dyer (U.S. Navy, Ret.), executive vice president and general manager of iRobot's Government & Industrial Robotics division. “iRobot is honored to lend its robotics expertise to the U.S. Army's groundbreaking FCS program so that we can help protect lives while giving our soldiers decisive technological advantages.”  
 
iRobot and the other 22 “Best of Industry” partners in the FCS program are working to lead the development and demonstration phase of the Army program. FCS is a networked “system of systems” composed of 18 components, from troop carriers and self-propelled artillery to robots, unmanned ground vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and sophisticated sensors. FCS uses advanced communications and other technologies to link soldiers with the components of the system, giving them access to data that can provide a much more accurate picture of the combat environment than ever before available.  
 
The new equipment developed under the FCS program will initially augment, and eventually is expected to replace, many of the heavy tanks and other combat vehicles that have been in the Army's inventory for decades.  
 
iRobot has a long commitment to building robotic products that make living safer and easier for people in many walks of life. Over the past 15 years, iRobot has developed and built innovative products for the military, government security agencies, law enforcement and the consumer marketplace.