Smaller robotic systems showcased by DGA
included three Mini-robots called MiniROC (Mini Robot de Choc), a
family of modular, semi-autonomous platforms designed for operations
in urban environments. Another system, called TAROT, is being used to
autonomous navigation and
behavioral aspects of the interaction
between humans and robots.
Following three years of developments, the MiniROC family is scheduled for operational evaluation by October 2006.
According to French MOD plans unmanned systems will be
developed incrementally throughout the next 20 years as part of
the transformational Scorpion program, which aims at developing
systems and tactics that will be effective in the future
close-range "contact battles". By the year 2012 MiniROC is expected to be
integrated as part of the futuristic
aיroterrestre (BOA) technology demonstration program, as
part of the comprehensive manned-unmanned systems ensemble. On a parallel
path, DGA is DGA is considering two new sensors for the
systems program - the "Spybowl" imaging sphere designed by Exavision
and the quad-rotor CPX4 hovering surveillance system, from Novedem.
Robosoft Advanced Robotics Solutions displayed several UGV systems,
including the heavy RobuCAR TT, 4x4 platform, capable of carrying a
350 kg payload and a small networked robot designed for conceptual
testing of swarm missions. Another robot being tested is the RobuROC,
which is specifically designed to negotiate difficult terrain. In
Germany, Rheinmetall Defense is engaged in a similar research project
employing the small Foxbot
and SMOVER vehicle robotization kit,
which can effectively convert any manned vehicle to a robot. Higher levels of
autonomy to be utilized for combat reconnaissance and support missions
are currently on the drawing board. Such future applications are
planned for every land forces modernization program, including FCS,
FRES, Scorpion and BOA.
Among the more mature programs is the type is the combat proven PackBot, developed
and produced by iRobot. The company is currently developing the Small
UGV (SUGV) to become the baseline UGV for the US Army Future Combat
System's (FCS) robotics. iROBOT also released details about the larger
Warrior (also known as NEOMover), 125 kg platform, carrying a payload
of 50kg (100 pounds) at a speed of up to 12 miles per hour.
The new robot will follow the design principles of the smaller PackBot
(including the characteristic tracks and flippers design). Warrior/NEOmover
will be more durable and robust, and will be capable of climbing
steps and obstacles, survive a drop from a one storey high rooftop and enduring
harsh environmental conditions. Among the combat roles proposed for
the Warrior are explosive ordnance disposal, battlefield casualty
extraction and firefighting.