Aug 26, 2010 9:36 PM by Alison Haynes
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A small Maine company and defense giant
Boeing Co. announced Thursday they're teaming up to develop
technology that will enable military ground vehicles to operate
unmanned in hostile situations, sparing soldiers of the dangers
they now face.
Bolduc Technology Group, which is headquartered in Augusta, and
Boeing Defense, Space & Security officials made the announcement
with Maine Gov. John Baldacci. The kits would enable human-driven
vehicles to be converted into autonomous or remotely operated
vehicles for commercial or military use.
Under the agreement, Bolduc will lend its expertise in
developing technology for remotely operated vehicles. The company
for two decades has enabled thousands of disabled people to operate
vehicles through "drive-by-wire" technology and applications
adapted from airplanes.
Boeing, a major manufacturer of -moitary aircraft, will offer
its experience in ground robotics, autonomy and combat systems. The
goal is to develop technology to have unmanned vehicles in military
or other settings operate either by remote control or programmed to
follow predetermined routes.
"Our ground vehicle autonomy kit technology enables dull, dirty
and dangerous missions such as convoys, route clearance,
reconnaissance and perimeter control to be performed with either
remotely operated or supervised autonomous control," said Bob
DaLee, robotics program manager for Boeing's Network and Tactical
Bolduc Technology was founded in Maine 20 years ago and moved to
Baton Rouge, La., before relocating again to Augusta. The company,
which has its primary manufacturing facility in Gray, has 16
Boeing Defense, Space & Security, headquartered in St. Louis, is
a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.
Balda br said the agreement between the two "speaks to the
world-class technology and work force that exists right here in