SAIC, Croatian Company Present Robot Demonstration

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, ALA. (WHNT) - Wednesday morning, a Huntsville company teamed up with an international partner to put on an impressive "show and tell" of robots designed to do the dirty work in life-threatening situations.

SAIC joined representatives from Dok-ing in Croatia for an event also considered the opening of SAIC's facility in the Alabama Robotics & Technology Park in Limestone County.

One robot -- the MVF-5 -- moves heavy debris perhaps found on a battlefield and puts out fires too dangerous for a person to approach.

The other robot -- the M-160 -- digs up the earth and possible explosive devices U.S. soldiers can't see, planted by an enemy.

They are unmanned vehicles controlled by remote and designed to save man in the worst situations.

And they're the first of many robots built through a partnership between SAIC of Huntsville and Dok-ing Corporation of Croatia.

"The international cooperation is very important," said Tomi Krmpotic, program manager for Dok-ing Corporation.

"It's about strengthening the robotic capability and the future growth of north Alabama," said Tim Massey, Vice President at SAIC.

Representatives from both companies put on a demonstration of the vehicles already in use to protect U.S. troops, giving our military an advantage over the enemy.

The M-160 is a mine-clearing machine.

"They're using that in theatre right now to detect IEDs, which are saving soldiers lives," said Massey.  "You can damage the machine, you don't damage a convoy."

The MVF-5 is a firefighting machine which can be used on a battlefield or in homeland security maneuvers for a big city.

"It would be used for remote operation of putting out fires where you don't want people to get too close," said Massey.

Spokesmen for the companies say these robots are just the beginning of what's to come.

"We have a number of solutions in the pipeline and we're very excited to grow this business," said Krmpotic.

And north Alabama students studying robotics at Calhoun Community College are getting on-the-job training creating robots to protect their human creators.

The U.S. Army has purchased and deployed more than 90 of the mine-clearing robots to warzones overseas.

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