The U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) will unveil the newest technology to assist Soldiers in finding and disarming improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during the National Defense Industry Association’s Ground Robotic Capabilities Conference and Exhibition (GRCCE) March 16-18 in Miami, FL. In addition, TARDEC will display military robots that follow an industry-wide push for interoperability during the show.

Themed “Dual Role of Robotics Technologies – Public and Private Sector,” the GRCCE is bringing together warfighters, first responders, and government and industry technology professionals to address increased responsiveness to user needs. The conference’s focus includes how the best ideas from the military, automotive industry and NASA can be synergistically shared.

“TARDEC takes advantage of the GRCCE to spur cooperation between government agencies and private partners,” explained Dave Thomas, TARDEC’s Associate Director of Intelligent Ground Systems. “This year, TARDEC will unveil a technology that was directly requested from our warfighters as well as focus on how we can get the entire robotic community working together on communications challenges.”

For the first time publicly, TARDEC will display Tanglefoot. Able to be attached to more than 8,000 currently-fielded robots, Tanglefoot incorporates an interface kit, wire rake and mast as a simple, low-cost, universal tool to assist the defeat of IEDs and route clearance.

According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, IEDs are the most deadly threats to United States and coalition forces today and are responsible for nearly two-thirds of causalities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Based at the U.S. Army’s Detroit Arsenal, TARDEC develops and integrates the right technology solutions to improve Current Force effectiveness and provide superior capabilities for the Future Force.

The Tanglefoot initiative demonstrates the importance of collaborative efforts. “The teaming of TARDEC and the Robotics Systems Joint Project Office (RS JPO) made this possible,” said RS JPO Assistant Project Manager for Maneuver Support Systems MAJ Chad Harris. “TARDEC rapidly developed and tested the device, then transferred it to RS JPO for fielding. This collaboration helps the warfighter get the best equipment he or she needs to be effective.”

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