04 Aug 10. Six teams have been finalised to compete for the multi-autonomous ground-robotic international challenge (MAGIC 2010), a joint programme led by the US and Australian Departments of Defence.
MAGIC 2010 aims to develop next-generation unmanned ground vehicle systems that can be deployed in military operations. The teams include Cappadocia from Turkey, Chiba from Tokyo, Magician from Australia and RASR, Team Michigan, University of Pennsylvania from the US. All six teams will field their unmanned vehicle prototypes at the Royal Showground in South Australia from 8-13 November 2010 where they will need to autonomously and dynamically coordinate, plan and execute military actions against changing priorities. The programme is expected to generate innovative ideas towards robotics research in critical new areas that will address operational challenges and improve survivability of soldiers. Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the US Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command are taking the lead in organising the programme. (Source: armytechnology.com)
19 Jul 10. Unmanned Equipment: Air & Land Systems. The Defence Equipment Minister said (19 Jul 10) that the MoD has many different types of unmanned equipment in use, in development and under consideration for future use.
Comment: Although not listed, the RN uses civil derived unmanned underwater vehicles for tasks such as mine countermeasures Operations. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/230, 02 Aug 10)
30 Jul 10. Scientists at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) are developing snake-like technology in an effort to create robotic snakes for search-and-rescue missions. The project, known as the robotic tentacle manipulator involves arranging a group of snakes in a circular array that function like a team to manipulate an object, scan a room or handle improvised explosive devices. A snake-robot can be built as a large or small subsystem to a larger platform like iRobot’s rugged system Warrior, which travels over rough terrain and climbs stairs. The number of tentacles determines the scope of its search capabilities as well as its ability to crawl, swim, climb or shimmy through narrow spaces while transmitting images to the operator. The amphibious snake will be equipped with a large-screen laptop as a simple user interface and sophisticated electronic sensors including laser detection and ranging to provide 3D representations and physical properties like faces, mass and centre of mass. ARL scientist Derek Scherer said the technology is leading to more than just the very tip of the snake being used in the object manipulation effect.
“Touch sensitivity allows the platform to lift and reposition objects, including IEDs, for examination, and do so in a controlled fashion that is unlikely to detonate any ordnance,” he said.
Hardware of the snake robot includes a master controller system to direct each 24cm tentacle and communicate with the embedded motors in the tentacles. (Source: armytechnology.com)
26 July 10. Russians exhibit upgraded Dozor-100 UAV. A modified Dozor-100 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was displayed by Kronshtadt at the UVS-TECH 2010 exhibition in Moscow. The Dozor-100 has a service life of roughly 3,000 hours and is primarily an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. The latest version features improvements to the powerplant, avionics, payload and the control station. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)