Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Remote-Controlled, Throwable Robots Developed At Carnegie Mellon In Conjunction With U.S. Marine Corps Are Being Sent To Iraq For Testing

Date:
June 29, 2004
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Carnegie Mellon University robotics researchers, in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps' Warfighting Laboratory, have developed a small, throwable, remote-controlled prototype robot designed for surveillance in urban settings. Several of the robots are being sent to Iraq for testing.

Dragon Runner, a throwable, remote-controlled robot, is designed for surveillance in urban settings.
Credit: Image courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University

PITTSBURGH -- Carnegie Mellon University robotics researchers, in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps' Warfighting Laboratory, have developed a small, throwable, remote-controlled prototype robot designed for surveillance in urban settings. Several of the robots are being sent to Iraq for testing.

The robot, known as Dragon Runner, has the ability to see around corners and deliver information to Marines while keeping them out of danger in urban settings where human access is impractical, dangerous or unsustainable.

The Dragon Runner project is managed and funded by the Warfighting Laboratory (Quantico, Va.), which is part of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command. The system has been under development for more than two years and has already undergone rigorous testing in a variety of austere environments.

"The Dragon Runner can function in loose soil with small obstacles but is most effective on relatively flat surfaces like streets and sidewalks, making it ideal for an urban, desert environment," said Captain Dave Moreau, Dragon Runner project officer with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. "We have conducted a thorough evaluation of its capabilities in an urban, desert environment at both the former George Air Force Base, in Victorville, Calif., and Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas. The next step is to test Dragon Runner operationally in theater."

The architect behind Dragon Runner is Hagen Schempf, a principal research scientist in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute. During his career, Schempf has designed robotic systems for asbestos removal, nuclear waste remediation and cleanup of underground storage tanks containing toxic materials.

"Dragon Runner is the lightest, smallest, most rugged, readily portable robot system for remote scouting operations in existence today," he said. "It has the potential to be the eyes and ears of the Marines in forward urban operations, allowing them to gather intelligence without being in harm's way. It is a tool that reduces potential lethal exposure to our troops by reducing the amount of time that they expose themselves to danger."

The Warfighting Laboratory describes Dragon Runner as a small, four-wheeled, all-wheel drive, invertible, tossable, remotely operated, low-cost, man-portable, mobile ground sensor designed to increase situational awareness at the small unit level (i.e., company and below) in urban environments. In today's modern battle spaces, potential enemies capitalize on the asymmetric nature of urban areas. In response, Dragon Runner can provide real-time imagery of tactical objectives and potential danger areas beyond a Marine's line of sight during day or night.

Dragon Runner can stand in sentry mode by using several onboard motion and audio sensors to monitor selected areas. It may also be configured to carry mission-specific payloads. The complete system includes the vehicle, an operator control system and a controller configured for one-handed operation, all held in a custom backpack.

Dragon Runner has a top speed of more than 20 miles per hour but also can be operated with slow deliberate control. It operates in a mode similar to modern video games and can be deployed from its backpack in less than three seconds.

In addition to his work at the Robotics Institute, Schempf is chief scientist at Automatika, a Pittsburgh-based company he founded in 1995, that develops novel, high-value-added robotic and automation systems. Automatika was responsible for the development of Dragon Runner's rugged distributed vehicle electronics and the development of its impact-tolerant chassis and shell.

Automatika has licensed the Dragon Runner technology from Carnegie Mellon to explore the civilian opportunities for such a system. They believe there could be a variety of uses, i.e., in civil defense, SWAT, protecting the nation's borders and in criminal defense.

Schempf emphasized that after testing is complete, the university will not be involved in developing a military version of the system, which the Marine Corps may wish to procure through its military acquisition channels.

"What we're doing is not classified," he said. "It's about developing a new operational capability using innovative technologies and cutting-edge manufacturing and assembly methods."

According to William A. Thomasmeyer, president of the Robotics Foundry, an independent, non-profit economic development organization that directs programs and initiatives to accelerate the growth of an applied robotics industry in western Pennsylvania, Automatika is on track to become a robotics success story.

"If Dragon Runner is able to prove its mettle, it's likely to become the first mass-produced, agile, robotic product to be invented, engineered and manufactured in southwestern Pennsylvania," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Remote-Controlled, Throwable Robots Developed At Carnegie Mellon In Conjunction With U.S. Marine Corps Are Being Sent To Iraq For Testing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040629013646.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2004, June 29). Remote-Controlled, Throwable Robots Developed At Carnegie Mellon In Conjunction With U.S. Marine Corps Are Being Sent To Iraq For Testing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040629013646.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Remote-Controlled, Throwable Robots Developed At Carnegie Mellon In Conjunction With U.S. Marine Corps Are Being Sent To Iraq For Testing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040629013646.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) The deal will help build a massive battery factory that Tesla says will produce 500,000 lithium batteries by 2020. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Cycle World (July 30, 2014) The Bonnier Motorcycle Group presents Smoked; a three part video series. In this episode the 2015 Ducati Diavel takes on the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Video provided by Cycle World
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins