Remote-Controlled Throwable Robot Sent To Iraq For Testing
Remote-controlled prototype robots developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers for the purpose of urban surveillance are being sent to Iraq to undergo testing. The Dragon Runner robot has been under development for over two years as part of a project funded and coordinated by the Marine Corps Combat Development Command’s Warfighting Laboratory.
Dragon Runner Chief Architect Hagen Schempf with CMU’s Robotics Institute explains that the robot “is the lightest, smallest, most rugged, readily portable robot system for remote scouting operations in existence today.” It can be used as an intelligence-gathering tool that keeps soldiers out of dangerous situations in urban desert settings; Dragon Runner Project Officer Capt. Dave Moreau explains that the machine is well-suited for such environments because it travels most effectively on flat surfaces such as sidewalks and streets.
The four-wheeled, tossable Dragon Runner has a maximum speed of over 20 mph, and can see around corners and transmit real-time tactical imagery that is out of a Marine’s line-of-sight. The robot also can act as a sentry and keep watch in specific areas using onboard motion and audio sensors.
Dragon Runner’s operational mode is similar to contemporary video games; Marines can carry the robot in a backpack and deploy it in less than three seconds, directing its movements with a one-handed control interface. The robot’s ruggedized chassis and distributed vehicle electronics were developed by Automatika, a company founded by Schempf that has licensed the Dragon Runner technology from CMU to look into potential civilian applications, which could include law enforcement, civil defense, and border security.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from EurekAlert (06/23/04).