RESTON, Va., 18 Jan. 2012. Leaders of the Australian Department of Defence in Canberra, Australia, needed small unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to equip the Australian Army. They found their solution from the QinetiQ North America Technology Solutions Group in Reston, Va. The Australian Department of Defence is ordering the QinetiQ Dragon Runner 20 (DR20) robot, which emerged as the top performing robot during a competition to equip the Australian Army, QinetiQ officials say.
DR20 ground robots are for a wide range of military applications, such as ordnance disposal, reconnaissance, inspection, and security missions. The robot can provide fighting forces in the field with situational awareness before personnel are deployed, as well as disrupt threats and deploy countermeasures.
The DR20 can lift from five to 10 pounds with its manipulator arm, which has a rotating shoulder, wrist, and grippers for dexterity. It can also expand its mission capabilities when fitted with tracks for enhanced mobility. Reconnaissance and surveillance options for the robot include day and nighttime cameras, pan, tilt, and zoom cameras, motion detectors, and a microphone. The small UGV also has extended radio frequency operating capabilities and can operate in a RF-jammed environment, QinetiQ officials say.
QinetiQ has worked with UGV experts in the Australian military over several years, beginning with deployment of the company's larger TALON military robot. The TALON and DR20 robots are used in the U.S. and United Kingdom militaries.
The QinetiQ DR20 UGV weighs 33 pounds and is 12.2 inches wide, 16.5 inches long, and 6 inches high. Several different payloads are available, including a variety of sensors, radios, cameras, and robotic arms.