Unmanned vehicle market looks to grow

QinetiQ's MAARS Robot

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: American troops are leaving Iraq -- but the military's robots are not. The Army said yesterday unmanned aircraft flights over Iraq are increasing. Good news for the people who make unmanned vehicles.
Many of them are gathering today in Denver to show off their products.

Colorado Public Radio's Zachary Barr has more.


ZACHARY BARR: A robot that looks like a mini tank ambles along the convention center floor. It can frighten you, like by siren. And it can kill you -- several different ways.

RICH LEHMAN: It can shoot you in single shot. It can shoot you with the machine gun if you like -- also use the 40mm on the side there.

Rich Lehman works for QinetiQ, the machine's manufacturer. Hundreds of other companies are here too -- exhibiting robots that crawl, swim and fly.

The unmanned vehicle industry is a $6 billion business, and spokeswoman Linsday Voos says it's looking to get even bigger.

LINDSAY VOOS: You know, when you think about crop dusting -- what a great and efficient way to use an aircraft if you can do it remotely or autonomously.

The trouble is, while public agencies like police and border control can operate unmanned planes -- civilians cannot. So in addition to developing robotic soldiers and crop dusters, the industry's looking to make peace with regulators.

In Denver, I'm Zachary Barr for Marketplace.

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