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Polaris off-road vehicles used by U.S. military for robotics challenge

Nov. 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM   |   Comments

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Off-road vehicle manufacturer Polaris Industries Inc. reports its 60 horsepower Ranger XP 900 EPS vehicles will be used in a U.S. military robotics challenge.

The competition, sponsored by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is intended to demonstrate the ability of robots to perform common tasks in disaster relief operations.

One of eight tasks in the challenge is for robots to drive vehicles.

"We have found off-road vehicles are some of the most useful vehicles in disaster relief due to their ease of transport and ability to traverse challenging terrain," said Patrick Weldon, product manager for Polaris Defense. "Our specialized vehicles are designed to the end-user's specifications.

"For the DARPA Robotics Challenge, the Rangers were built to accommodate the robots and provide mobility at the mock disaster site."

Polaris, which has its headquarters in suburban Minneapolis, said customization of the Ranger included remote electronic throttle kill and brake actuation technology, addition of a bench seat and tilt steering for the robot and use of a 1,000-pound capacity bed for carrying the robot's power supply.

With robots at the wheel, the vehicle will be driven through a course with obstacles.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge will be held next month at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.

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