By Austen Shipley | Yellowhammer News
Huntsville, already a leader in national defense, will become home to Marathon Robotics, the country’s first autonomous ground robot production facility for military and police training.
The technology is known as an Autonomous Robotic Training System – realistic mannequins on armored robots. They move independently, flinching or lying down when shot, and can also scream as they run run for cover or charge toward shooters – as in military and law enforcement.
The goal of the system is to increase combat readiness for the military and members of law enforcement throughout the country.
“These robots solve a fundamental problem for militaries and law enforcement — the ONLY time they practice shooting bullets at realistic moving targets is in a real firefight,” said company President Ralph Petroff.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle expressed his appreciation for Petroff’s decision to open the facility in the city.
“I want to thank Marathon for their investment in our city,” he said. “This technology was a perfect candidate for the Alabama Robotic Technology Park, and now we’re proud they’ve chosen to expand in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park.
“Marathon is a great example of how industry supports Redstone Arsenal, our economy and our armed forces.”
U.S. Rep. Dale Strong, whose district includes Huntsville, said Marathon will play a vital role in defense.
“Alabama is the best place in the nation for businesses supporting America’s aerospace, aviation and defense communities,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to practice shooting these robots.
“Before Marathon, we asked the men and women of our armed forces to go to foreign lands and fight after having only shot at a piece of paper or simple pop-up targets. This new facility highlights Marathon’s commitment to ensuring the safety of America and to investing in our community.”