New maritime robot being developed

May 3, 2011 at 1:09 PM

EDINA, Minn., May 3 (UPI) -- A reconnaissance robot with magnetized wheels that can climb up and over a ship's hull is being developed by ReconRobotics Inc. of Minnesota and the U.S. Navy.

ReconRobotics said it believes the concept of Recon Scout Throwbot could evolve into a micro-robot platform that would have immediate applications in maritime piracy interdiction and in protecting the lives of shipboard military personnel.

The Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific and ReconRobotics recently unveiled the initial concept of the 1-pound micro-robot and its novel marsupial-robot delivery system at the National Defense Industry Association Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference in Orlando, Fla.

"We believe that this micro-robot platform could help mitigate maritime piracy threats and protect the lives of naval personnel and anti-piracy teams," said Alan Bignall, president and chief executive officer of ReconRobotics.

"We hope to collaborate with SSC Pacific within the mandates of our CRADA (cooperative research and development agreement) to further develop this robot and quickly bring it and the marsupial robot deployment system to market. In the future this system might also include other payloads and sensors, which would increase its versatility and expand its mission profile."

The marsupial robot deployment system named in the CRADA enables an operator of a large robot to automatically transport and deploy a smaller robot downrange using a customized, ejectable sabot.

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