Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, iRobot Partner on Ground Combat Vehicle

With earnings due today, iRobot's been coming fast and furious this week with the press releases. Yesterday, BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman announced they are partnering with iRobot on the new Ground Combat Vehicle.

From the press release: "iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) will serve as the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) integrator and enhance the capability to detect pedestrians and obstacles of interest with growth towards an autonomous driving capability for the GCV.  iRobot will also be responsible for integration of the U.S. Army's Brigade Combat Team modernization program Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) robotic platform so that it can be operated from inside the GCV.
"We are very pleased to be a member of the BAE Systems-Northrop Grumman GCV team," said Robert Moses, president of iRobot's Government and Industrial Robots division. "Together we offer extensive experience in combat platform production and robotics integration capabilities to the GCV program. The GCV is an extremely important program for the Army and today's soldier. We are proud to be part of a team that looks to develop the U.S. Army's next generation combat vehicle."
For investors, this is double-barreled news. It gives iRobot a new and unexpected revenue stream, and perhaps more importantly, makes the company even more valuable as a potential takeover target. The company now has key partnerships with several of the biggest defense contractors in the world. I simply can't imagine one of them NOT wanting to buy iRobot in the next couple of years when faced with big cuts to defense budgets around the world (except the Middle East and Asia). In a shrinking market, iRobot's business has the potential to keep growing, and technologies like Awarehead can be transferred to a host of other autonomous and semi-autonomous robots.

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