iRobot wins $286 million Army robot contract

Published 19 December 2007

iRobot signs contract to supply the U.S. Army with 3,000 of the company’s PackBot military robot platform; contract marks Army’s intention of increasing role and missions of robots in battle

Good news for iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT): The company has been awarded the xBot contract, a $286 million Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract from the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI), on behalf of the Robotic Systems Joint Project Office at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. The contract allows the Army to order up to 3,000 military robots, spare parts, training and repair services over the next five years. The award marks a turning point in the way the Army uses robots in combat, which until now have been deployed in limited numbers only to explosive ordnance device (EOD) specialists. With this award, the Army broadens the deployment of robots in larger scale to general infantry forces for a variety of critical missions in addition to EOD. iRobot immediately will begin to deliver the first 101 robots for urgent deployment.

iRobot was selected to fulfill the contract as the lowest priced, technically qualified bidder deemed able to deliver as a responsible contractor. iRobot’s winning xBot prototype robot is based closely on the combat-proven iRobot PackBot military robot platform. xBot is a generic name, and the robots delivered to forces under the contract will be named iRobot PackBot 510 with FasTac Kit. These robots are smaller and lighter than the iRobot PackBot 510, with a robust gripper and an observation mast equipped with a low-light-capable zoom camera. iRobot has delivered more than 1,200 PackBot robots, which are at work conducting dangerous missions while warfighters remain out of harm’s way.