QinetiQ, Thermo Scientific Collaborate to Equip Explosive-Sniffing Robots with Smart Sensors

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GF Private Equity Group and LLC. Thermo Fisher Scientific acquired the company in February.

The standalone FirstDefender handheld unitThe idea for putting FirstDefender sensors on board the Talon came from military and civilian customers who have been using the two systems separately in the field for years, Sword says. The sensor device is installed on the Talon’s gripper arm, and both the robot and the chemical sensors can be operated through the robot’s main remote-control command console. The FirstDefender package can be removed from the Talon and used as a standalone portable device when required.

Remote control is efficient up to 1,000 meters (about 3,300 feet). The Talon carries cameras—including night vision—so that the person who controls the device can see where the robot is going and what is ahead.

QinetiQ North America, a defense and homeland security firm with more than 6,400 employees and more than a billion dollars in annual revenue, says that the Talon can move as fast as a running soldier, climb stairs, and plow through snow. The robot is also durable. One was blown off the roof of a Humvee in Iraq. It plunged into the river below, but later soldiers used its remote control unit to drive it back out of the river for retrieval, QinetiQ says.

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