The latest attempt to control the IED problem

First 330 bomb-seeking robots will start rolling off the line next week

330 MARCbot IV (Multi-function Agile Remote Control Robot) systems will be built and will begin arriving in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next 3-5 months.

MARCBOT IV has significant advantages over earlier versions, such as a much larger range and removable remote control antennae allowing U.S. troops to operate the robots from inside armored vehicles.

He said other improvements include:

* A much higher resolution camera.
* A more rugged system to move the camera.
* An additional battery, allowing the robot to last longer.
* More power, so the robots can climb hills easier.

When they were first rushed into service 14 months ago, the robots did not have the durability or range for combat, said Bill Cohen, of manufacturer Exponent, Inc.

“The soldiers were the ones that told us what they needed. We adapted as quickly as possible,” he said.

Cohen said the Army and Exponent decided to develop the MARCBOT in the field instead of waiting until it was perfected to deploy it.

For more info on the program see IED Robot.

Comments

  1. I was in Iraq last year and we in EOD used the first generation of the MARCbot (although I did not know that was the licensed name of them… we called them RC cars or DTRAbots after the people that provided them to us). The ‘bot’ is/was nothing more than an expensive RC car platform that we could put an expensive remote camera on and drive around as a recon tool. In counter IED operations, the best you could do is slap some HE on them and drive them down to an IED and detonate it saving lives but creating a one-way trip for the rather expensive toy. We did also use it to shuttle explosive charges quickly to aid our slower more durable robots that had better arm control and such, and I will admit that the MARCbot was fast! I will give credit where it is due to the team in Iraq who did stay in the trenches with us field testing a piece of equipment, many times facing danger due to indirect fire (I personally witnessed on camp Victory). As good as the equipment is or isn’t, what will defeat IEDs are soldier’s awareness of the threat, leadership, and the ability and heroism of the EOD operators (and others) in tackling the IED threat. The equipment is only as good as the operator and there is no ‘silver bullet’ to eliminate the IED threat… believe me, I wish there was.

  2. I would like to point out that the above comment has nothing to do with the MARCbot. If he worked in the EOD community, the MARCbot had nothing to offer him. The MB is designed for the soldiers that are out on patrol trying to keep the roads safe. It is a means for the soldier to put eyes on the suspected IED without having to be face to face with it. The MARCbot was designed with a two piece arm that allows the operator to maneuver the pan/tilt camera to get a better visual of the object compared to stationary cameras. Although he is correct that the EOD community was provided hundreds of the RC cars that they used to deliver explosives, but this was from a different company. In no way is the MARCbot designed to deliver explosives. It is simply a tool that the soldier can use to stay out of harms way. When the MARCbot is used successfully, EOD is still called to the location to handle the explosive device.