Honors Gallery

Chemical agent simulant training kit (CASTK)

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2010

Award Type:

Region: Mid-Atlantic

U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center "DEVCOM"

Military and civilian first responders and HAZMAT teams must enter areas of suspected chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) hazards in order to use their handheld detectors, potentially placing them at risk. Sending a robot to conduct these sensitive site assessments can save lives while collecting the necessary data. The CBRN Unmanned Ground Vehicle (CUGV) enables personnel to conduct CBRN reconnaissance operations from a safe location.

The technology is a robotic integration of a sensor and sampling suite to provide remote detection of chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, explosive vapors, gamma radiation, temperature and humidity through the hardware and software integration of commercial and military detection systems. The CUGV also provides the ability to capture evidence-quality air samples to prove the presence of hazardous vapors. The overall physical integration consists of a chassis-mounted payload box, which is the hub of the system, and multiple plug-and-play detector mounts that provide maximum operational flexibility. This system offers significant benefits to both military and civilian first responders and therefore represents a dual-use technology. The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) team was involved in all aspects of these technology transfer efforts, from providing CUGV technical data to other DOD organizations to collaborating with the iRobot Corporation to develop a commercial source of the technology for quick procurement by military and homeland security personnel in times of urgent need.

ECBC has forged new relationships with a number of government agencies via its collaboration with iRobot and the technical data transfers with other DOD agencies. Robots are an objective for the FY11-FY12 program for the military’s joint Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) Reconnaissance System, as well as state and local entities that have expressed interest in this system. The robot is also featured in the Office of the Secretary of Defense Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap (FY2009-2034) as having a central role in meeting our country’s security needs. Although the robot cannot climb ladders or go through portholes, it also is not going to die—which makes it the preferred choice to send into an unknown environment.