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27 Apr 06. Innova Holdings Inc. (OTC BB: IVHG), a robotics and automation technology company providing software and hardware systems-based solutions to the service, personal, and industrial robotic markets, announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mesa Robotics Inc., (Madison, Ala.) that will integrate both companies’ successful technologies and proven products to further the effectiveness of unmanned ground vehicles. Mesa Robotics’ rugged, reliable robotic vehicles are deployed in the United States, Middle East and Japan, and also saw action in counter-explosives operations in Afghanistan. The companies plan to integrate the Innova Holdings patented robotic software solutions with Mesa’s full line of unmanned ground vehicles, ACER, Matilda and Marv. This combination of Microsoft Windows® architecture with Mesa’s rugged, versatile robots will result in state-of-the-art platforms applicable for military, government, Homeland Security, law enforcement and civilian markets. (Source: Shephard)

01 May 06. General Dynamics Robotic Systems, Westminster, Md., is being awarded an $8,471,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion pricing arrangement contract for two unmanned surface vehicle (USV) systems for the littoral combat ship anti-submarine warfare mission module. This contract contains options, which, if exercised will bring the potential cumulative value of this contract $11,301,482. Work will be performed in Owings Mills, Md., and is expected to be completed May 2007. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via a broad agency announcement released via the Federal Business Opportunities web site and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central web site, with eight offers received. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N66001-06-C-2016).

01 May 06. Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded
a $50,862,810 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity
contract with a maximum ordering quantity of 79 Joint Explosive Ordnance
Disposal Rapid Response Vehicles (JERRV) and associated manuals, spares, field
support, and training. Work will be performed in Ladson, S.C. (60 percent)
and Charlotte, Mich. (40 percent), and work is expected to be completed by May
2007. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year.
This contract is a sole source award to Force Protection Industries, Inc. as
they are the sole manufacturer of the JERRV. The Marine Corps Systems
Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-06-D-5042).

Apr 06. Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center Unveils 6.5 ton Crusher UGV. The 6.5-ton “Crusher” can function on its own in challenging off-road terrain. Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in the School of Computer Science’s Robotics Institute is unveiling a unique unmanned ground vehicle that offers new strength, mobility and autonomy features for the Army’s effort to keep its troops out of harm’s way. The 6.5-ton “Crusher” combines the strength and mobility of a predecessor known as Spinner with NREC-developed autonomy capabilities to create an extremely robust, unmanned vehicle that can function on its own in challenging off-road terrain. The project is known by the acronym UPI, which stands for Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle (UGCV) PerceptOR Integration. The UPI project, which includes extensive autonomy development, payload integration and field-testing, is funded by the U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at an expenditure of $35m to date. Experts say UPI incorporates technologies six to 10 years ahead of its time and provides an unprecedented glimpse into the future capabilities of unmanned military vehicles. The technologies developed for Crusher also have potential for commercial use in areas like con

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