Partnership Developing Remote Combat Vehicles

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Consortium (NREC) and United Defense Industries Inc. (UDI) have been awarded a $26.4 million contract by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop and produce tactical unmanned ground vehicles (TUGV) for the U.S. Marine Corps.

NREC scientists and several partners have been working on the problem of unmanned ground vehicles since 2002 through the Office of Naval Research's Future Naval Capability Program. The result of this work has been the Gladiator, a tele-operated, semiautonomous vehicle capable of remote, unmanned scout, reconnaissance and surveillance.

"Congress mandated that one third of all military vehicles be unmanned by 2015," says Donald Smith, director of economic development for Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. "We are pleased that the first major step in responding to this challenge is based on Carnegie Mellon's technology and will be manufactured in western Pennsylvania."

Ultimately, as many as 200 Gladiator vehicles could be built for the Marine Corps at UDI's Fayette County plant.