"If you have problems with your Prius, I could always throw it in the back." -- Ben Affleck as Doug MacRay
As I scanned Boeing's
What Boeing is, however, is one of the first companies to build a robot sub capable of operating independently, not tethered to a mothership. In so doing, it follows in the footsteps of iRobot
To get an idea of the differences between the subs, a few stats may help illustrate:
|Length||18.5 feet||5.9 feet|
|Weight||5 tons||115 lbs.|
|Speed||8 knots||0.5 knot|
|Max operating depth||10,000 feet||3,280 feet|
|Max travel range||80 miles||2,858 miles|
|Endurance||70 days*||10 months|
*"With the right power source."
What's it mean to investors?
Faced with a serious and growing budget crunch at the Pentagon, a lot of defense contractors are moving to diversify their businesses. Earlier this week, we saw General Dynamics
If that statement comes as a surprise to you, well, then, join the club. When a company has to tell you it's known for doing something, chances are it's not very well known. In fact, Boeing's just starting to dip its toe in this market, and as the stats show, it has some catching up to do if it intends to match iRobot on distance and endurance, at least. Its greater size notwithstanding, Echo Ranger remains little more than a large, aquatic guinea pig. It may learn to swim, but it won't catch Seaglider any time soon. For now, this is iRobot's race to lose.
Who will win the race to dominate the new market for robot subs? Add Boeing and iRobot to your Fool Watchlist, and find out.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own (or short) shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Transocean and General Dynamics. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of iRobot. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.