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Photos: Building an army of robots

DARPA and Carnegie Mellon University unveil Crusher--a new vehicle in the growing military fleet of robots on wheels.
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1 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Crusher

The U.S. Army is building a fleet of nasty-named, driverless vehicles. On April 28, 2006, Carnegie Mellon University, DARPA and the Army unveiled the Crusher, a 6.5 ton, six wheeled unmanned ground combat vehicle. It's a hybrid transporter with an electric motor in each of its wheels and a suspension system that can overcome extremely rough terrain.

See Crusher in action.

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2 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Crusher

Crusher, which currently has a top speed of 26 mph, can carry 8,000 pounds of supplies and equipment. It will be used at first in convoys and support roles but is expected to be used alongside troops in five to 10 years.

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3 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

TerraMax

One of the five finishers of the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge road race for driverless vehicles is slated for a career in the military. TerraMax was built by Oshkosh Truck Corp., Rockwell Collins and the University of Parma, Italy. On the DARPA Grand Challenge course, the eight-foot-wide defense truck passed through Beer Bottle Pass with just inches to spare between its bumper and a 200-foot sheer cliff. Designed for the U.S. Marine Corps., TerraMax has a 15 ton on-road and 7.1 ton off-road payload capacity.

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4 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Stryker

Already in action with human drivers, the U.S. Army's Stryker is being testing with robots at the wheel. Recently, over a 100 mile winding test course, a driverless Stryker averaged 22 mph and hit a top speed of 40 mph. The robot Stryker is expected to see action in 2010.

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5 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

R-Gator

iRobot, the company that makes the Roomba and Scooba robotic floor cleaners, and John Deare teamed on R-Gator, which is designed to be a scout, perimeter guard, ammo carrier and more for soldiers in a combat zone.

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6 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

PackBot

The PackBot from iRobot can climb stairs and carry a camera on its arm. The robot is already being used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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7 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Dragon Runner

The Dragon Runner, developed by Carnegie Mellon, is a four wheeled mobile ground sensor system that comes with a vehicle that can hit 20 mph, a control system and a handheld controller. The 21 pound vehicle can be activated in three seconds and can be thrown over a wall or around a corner.

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8 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Gladiator

Carnegie Mellon University and United Defense Industries built the Gladiator, an unmanned vehicle with remote, unmanned scout, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities.

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