QinetiQ Introduces a Field Transformable Small Robot
A new range of ‘Dragon Runner’ Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV). was unveiled at AUSA 2008 by QinetiQ North America. These robots represent a modular ground robot system capable of performing a wide range of missions in urban, mountainous or rural environments, from underground and in-house to the handling of improvised explosive device (IEDs).
Based on the Dragon Runner platform developed for US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory few years ago, the modular base unit Dragon Runner weighs less than 20 pounds and can be carried by one person in a standard-issue pack. The wheeled base unit is field-transformable, with quick snap on or bolt on tools, morphing the robot for different missions, including reconnaissance inside buildings, sewers, drainpipes, caves and courtyards; perimeter security using on-board motion and sound detectors; checkpoint security; in-vehicle and under-vehicle inspections; and hostage barricade reconnaissance and negotiation.
The Dragon Runner is controlled from a compact, hand-held control display employing a quad-screen mode that supports four simultaneous camera views or any one individual view. Operators of Dragon Runner SUGV have the ability to add tracks for maximum mobility and a manipulator arm with rotating shoulder, wrist and grippers for dexterity. In addition, day and night pan/tilt/zoom cameras, motion detectors and a listening capability allow Dragon Runner SUGV to further extend the combat team’s situational awareness. The add-on elements quickly snap or bolt into place, without the use of special tooling. Additionally, Dragon Runner SUGV, gives operators field-changeable frequency capabilities, using analog or digital radio options, to improve flexibility and range. The robot and control system run on standard batteries, further simplifying logistic support and integration with current units and missions.
Dr. William Ribich, President of the Technology Solutions Group, QinetiQ North America is proud of the versatility of the new robot that “can climb stairs, open doors, provide critical reconnaissance information and disarm IEDs – all while protecting our troops, who control the robot from a safe distance… When Dragon Runner SUGV takes a hit, that means at least one soldier or marine was kept from harm,” Ribich concluded.
Among the articles covering new robotic systems at AUSA 2008 are: