Robot military vehicle out for a spin

A robotic combat tank, codenamed the "Gladiator," was given its first public test drive in Uniontown, Penn., last week, according to the Pittsburgh Gazette.

Carnegie Mellon and United Defense Industries won a $26.4 million contract earlier this year to fully develop the tank for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Marine Corps. The Defense Department wants a third of all battle vehicles to be unmanned by 2010.

The Gladiator, also known as the Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle (TUGV), is a six-wheeled robot that weighs nearly 3 tons and costs between $300,000 and $400,000 to make. The vehicle is built to fit into a military Humvee for transport, according to the report. Military officers will be able to direct the Gladiator with the use of a game-like joystick and a vision helmet that can see what the robot sees.

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