Manufacturing News

NSW robotics company wins $57m US defence contract

A Sydney company has won a $57m contract with the US Marine Corps to trial advanced robot technology for training soldiers in live firing exercises.

Marathon Robotics’ ‘Rover’ system will be tested by the US Marines for advanced marksmanship training.

"This is a great example of world-beating NSW technology," said NSW Treasurer and Minister for State and Regional Development, Eric Roozendaal.

The Rover – or Autonomous Robots Networked for Live Fire Training (ARNLT) system – will be tested by the US Marine Corps Systems Command in Orlando, Florida.

Company CEO Dr Alex Brooks said the system uses GPS and a scanning laser rangefinder for navigation, positioning, and obstacle detection/avoidance.

"Sitting atop the robotic platform is a human-sized 3D mannequin made from durable plastic to withstand hundreds of shots. When a mannequin is hit it drops backwards before resetting itself automatically.

"High-speed wireless ethernet is used to communicate with a central control station and with other robots. This allows remote monitoring, interactive control, and multi-robot coordination.

"On-board intelligence allows the robots to react quickly to unexpected situations," Brooks said.

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