Qinetiq North America's Technology Solutions Group is launching its new Dragon Runner Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV). This is claimed to be 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 US Marine Corps, the modular base unit of the Dragon Runner weighs less than 9kg (20 pounds) and can be carried by one person in a standard-issue pack. With field-transformable features that quickly snap or bolt into place – so no special tools are required – the Dragon Runner SUGV can be configured to suit a wide variety of missions.
Qinetiq says the Dragon Runner SUGV can be adapted quickly to for critical mission scenarios including: reconnaissance inside buildings, sewers, drainpipes, caves and courtyards; perimeter security using on-board motion and sound detectors; checkpoint security; in-vehicle and under-vehicle inspections; and hostage barricade reconnaissance and negotiation.
Operators of the Dragon Runner 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 Dragon Runner SUGV to extend further the combat team's situational awareness.
The Dragon Runner SUGV gives operators field-changeable frequency capabilities, using analogue or digital radio options, 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, making the Dragon Runner SUGV even easier to integrate into current missions.
Dr William Ribich, president of the Technology Solutions Group at Qinetiq North America, states: "We listened closely to our military customers' needs, and Dragon Runner SUGV is the result. We have 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."
Qinetiq North America also provides a worldwide maintenance and support plan to return battle-damaged Dragon Runner SUGVs to active duty as quickly as possible.
Ribich adds: "When Dragon Runner SUGV takes a hit, that means at least one soldier or marine was kept from harm."
The Dragon Runner is currently the smallest and also one of the newest members of the Talon family of Qinetiq North America robots. The current mainstay of the Talon family, the combat-proven Talon mid-size robot, has been in use since 2000 with over 2000 fielded worldwide by the US military.
For more information, visit www.qinetiq.com