Bedford, Mass.-based iRobot launched the Negotiator, a bare-bones robotic chassis that can support third-party sensor and video devices, said Joe Dyer, president of the company’s government and industrial robots division.

The Negotiator is an all-terrain tactical robot that reaches speeds of 3.1 miles per hour (9.3 km/h). Its basic chassis kit includes two NiMH batteries and a charger, an operator control unit and a ruggedized case. It comes equipped with video and audio plug-ins that are supported by voice over IP so users can “hear and see,” Dyer said. All data are sent over 900 MHz and video over 2.4 GHz. It also offers a communication range of up to 800 feet (line-of-sight) and a software suite that provides two-way, digitally encrypted audio communications.

The solution supports third-party vendors’ chemical or biological sensors. Also available are a optional pan/tilt day night camera system, a low-light infrared illuminated camera system or a rear-mounted fixed day/night camera system.

“The Negotiator can put distance between the first responder and dangerous materials,” he said. “And they are at a price point where police and fire departments can use them, as well as military personnel.”

The first production units of the chassis will be available for purchase in the fourth quarter of 2008. It costs $20,000.