QinetiQ North America's field-transformable robot takes the hit for military personnel
NOVEMBER 25, 2008--QinetiQ North America's Technology Solutions Group has launched its new Dragon Runner Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), which it says is the first fully modular ground robot system capable of both quick reconnaissance and IED disarmament in urban, mountainous, or rural environments.
NOVEMBER 25, 2008--QinetiQ North America's Technology Solutions Group (McLean, VA, USA; www.qinetiq-na.com) has launched its new Dragon Runner Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), which it says is the first fully modular ground robot system capable of both quick reconnaissance and improvised explosive device (IED) disarmament in urban, mountainous, or rural environments.
Based on a robot originally designed for the U.S. Marine Corps, the modular base unit Dragon Runner weighs less than 20 lb and can be carried by one person in a standard-issue pack. With field-transformable features that quickly snap or bolt into place -- no special tools required -- QinetiQ says the vehicle can "morph to fit virtually any mission."
Critical mission scenarios include reconnaissance inside buildings, sewers, drainpipes, caves, and courtyards; perimeter security using onboard motion and sound detectors; checkpoint security; in-vehicle and under-vehicle inspections; and hostage barricade reconnaissance and negotiation.
Operators of the 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 the robot to further extend a combat team's situational awareness.
Field-changeable frequency capabilities, using analog or digital radio options, are designed to improve flexibility and range. Standard vehicle and operator control unit batteries mean that troops can use available government inventory for reduced cost and improved sustainability.
"We listened closely to our military customers' needs, and Dragon Runner SUGV is the result," says William Ribich, PhD, president of the Technology Solutions Group, QinetiQ North America. "We've created a lightweight, modular 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."
The company also provides a worldwide maintenance and support plan to return battle-damaged Dragon Runner SUGVs to active duty as quickly as possible.
"When Dragon Runner SUGV takes a hit, that means at least one soldier or marine was kept from harm," Ribich concludes.