Design Engineering

Canadian Dept. of National Defence to get bomb sniffing robots

iRobot's remotely-operated vehicles to “sniff” out chemical, biological and dirty bomb threats.

September 10, 2014   by The Canadian Press

14-sept-iRobot-packbot-625OTTAWA — The Canadian military is spending nearly $10 million to acquire high-tech robots meant to sniff out radioactive dirty bombs as well as chemical and biological weapons.

In a deal announced Monday, U.S.-based company iRobot Corp., which won the contract through an open tender, will deliver 20 of its 510 PackBot CBRN Recce Systems, plus training and future product lifecycle support.

Canadian bomb disposal teams have used small robotic vehicles in their efforts to find and dismantle roadside bombs and booby traps, but the devices did not have the capability to detect weapons of mass destruction, the kind terrorist groups such as al-Qaida have been trying to acquire.

Tom Phelps, iRobot’s director of robotic products, says the equipment the army is buying was heavily influenced by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The remotely-operated vehicles can enter buildings, climb stairs and generally operate in areas that may be unsafe for soldiers.

The robots are all expected to be delivered by next April.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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