April 17, 2013

With major wars ending, the competition for military robotics contracts is heating up. This is especially evident in the U.S. Navy's efforts to develop a ground-based robotic vehicle that can handle bomb disposal functions, National Defense Magazine reported.

Byron Brezina, a technical engineering project manager for the Naval Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technology Division, told audiences at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's program review that the Navy is revising its robot procurement strategies in light of changing industry trends, the news source explained.

According to the report, Brezina said that past models for deploying robots involved contracting one manufacturer to make an entire solution, leading to major upgrade challenges in later years when new components, made by other solution providers, had to be integrated with the proprietary system. Moving forward, the Navy is working to widen its field of robot manufacturers to use a wider variety of of sources for each project and integrate them naturally, easing upgrade processes.

The growing role of robotics for a wide range of functions is making embedded software especially critical. This is especially true in settings like the Navy's bomb disposal project, where frequent upgrades are made. As robots, and the software that makes them work, change, the need to improve software testing becomes increasingly important.

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Avionics, Aerospace, and Defense Software News