Feeds

US 'robot surge' deal re-inked after droid piracy fracas

Roomba maker set to build mechanoid legions

High performance access to file storage

Noted droid manufacturer iRobot has this week landed a major contract from the US Army, after the deal had initially been awarded to a competitor. However, iRobot successfully argued that its rival, Robotic FX, had stolen its technology.

The deal in question is known as "xBot" and could be worth as much as $300m for no fewer than 3,000 droid soldiers to be rushed into the Southwest Asian fighting. Some have dubbed it the "robotic surge" mirroring the current US surge in numbers of ground troops in Iraq.

In September, the Army declared that Robotic FX - run by former iRobot employee Jameel Ahed - had landed the lucrative deal following an unusual reverse auction process.

However, iRobot - which has already delivered over 1,000 military robots, and also makes the famous Roomba autonomous floor-cleaner - wasn't taking this lying down. They mounted a lawsuit alleging that Ahed had stolen proprietary iRobot technology when he left their employment.

Wired magazine reported on Tuesday that Ahed, who ran Robotic FX out of his dentist father's office building, was slapped down by a federal beak for failing to comply with a court order to preserve all evidence relating to the suit. Supposedly the engineer erased disks, hid computers and threw various related materials in the dumpster.

The judge said that Ahed's conduct "gives rise to a strong inference of consciousness of guilt".

Now the xBot contract has been taken away from Robotic FX and given to iRobot. The company said that the droid surge will begin immediately.

The Wired report can be read here. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.