Since 1775, the United States Marines Corps has been the foremost authority on amphibious warfare, and they’ve perfected the art of establishing beachheads on hostile shores, though amphibious landings remain the most complex and dangerous of all military operations. An amphibious drone from Guardbot Inc. could mitigate some of these dangers.
It looks like a detached B-17 turret (and sort of resembles that new rolling droid from Star Wars), but the Guardbot Spherical Amphibious Robotic Vehicles System can ferry imaging devices, IED and radiation detection sensors, sonars, energetics, and advance radios, and even explosive payloads to its target, securing the area for seaborne troops.
Obviously, a cute contraption like this wouldn’t have done much against entrenched German or Japanese defenders during World War II, but against a technologically inferior foe (aka, now), it could work wonders.
The Guardbot can traverse paved roads, off-road, sand, snow, sloped surfaces, and water, with a top speed of 6 mph on land and 3 mph in the drink. And the Guardbot should remain viable over extended maneuvers, with 8 hours of operation on a single charge.
It won’t win any beauty contests – it’s a ball – but the Guardbot could oblige a number of different military, civilian first-responder, and commercial applications. Sporting a nine-axis stabilization, “pendulum motion” propulsion system, the “robotic war balls” utilize steering algorithms to literally roll around. As Defense One points out, the Guardbot won’t have the wherewithal to disable roadside bombs like the PackBot, but then, its design enables it to reach places that the PackBot (and other conventional military robots) can’t.
Peter Muhlrad and his Stamford-based research team took seven years to develop the Guardbot, and according to Muhlrad, the spherical bot can be scaled down to units as small as 10 cm and as large as nine feet.
The Guardbot currently operates over a remote 2-8 GHz datalink, but new software that utilizes geographic information system data could enable semi-autonomous operation.
Check out the Guardbot rolling around (and securing hasty beachheads) in a 2012 presentation at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia:
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Filed Under: Aerospace + defense