Doing the Dirty Work by DTRA Public Affairs, Courtesy of DTRA-JSTO

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December 12, 2022 | Originally published by Defense Threat Reduction Agency on November 22, 2022

FORT BELVOIR, Va. – Officials here are developing an autonomous robotic system that identifies and maps chemical or biological warfare agent (CWA/BWA) contamination on vehicle surfaces, then decontaminates the surfaces, and clears that vehicle for unrestricted use by the Joint Force.

“After being contaminated with CWA/BWA, large equipment must be thoroughly decontaminated to the lowest field-detectable level for it to be cleared for safe, unrestricted operations,” said William Buechter, Science and Technology Manager at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Chemical and Biological Technologies Department that serves as the Joint Science and Technology Office (JSTO) for the Defense Department’s Chemical and Biological Defense Program. “These decontamination operations require a large, designated area and immense logistic support such as water, decontaminants, and intensive manpower,” Buechter added. “There is also the risk of spreading contamination during decontamination operations.”

DTRA JSTO is working with researchers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC), Ground Vehicle Systems Center, and Army Research Laboratory to develop the Autonomous Decontamination System (ADS) for equipment and wide-area decontamination.

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