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Robotic 'Crusher' ready to roll into combat

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Carnegie Mellon University
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Technology (general)

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Carnegie Mellon University is about to unveil a new unmanned ground combat vehicle commissioned by the U.S. military.

"Crusher," a 6.5-ton, six-wheeled robotic vehicle designed to negotiate harsh terrain, will be presented along with its predecessor, "Spinner," at Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Center on April 28, spokeswoman Anne Watzman said.

Crusher, funded by the Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is one of many robotic products being developed nationwide to cut the risk of casualties.

"It's designed to help keep military personnel out of harm's way," Watzman said.

"If these vehicles can get around and do things soldiers are doing now, there won't be anybody there but a machine to get injured."

Although Crusher is designed to carry weapons, the university has worked only on the machinery of the vehicle, Watzman said.

"It would be up to the Army to decide about payloads," she said.

Crusher combines some capabilities of Spinner -- an invertible machine able to right itself -- with mobility and autonomy technology, such as the use of terrain data, developed under a program called PerceptOR.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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