By Courtney E. Howard
SAN DIEGO—The Cubic Simulation Systems Division, part of the defense segment of Cubic Corp. in San Diego, has unveiled the Combined Operations Unmanned Ground Assessment Robot (COUGAR).
“There’s a growing market for robotics in the law-enforcement and first-responder community,” says Ed Kulakowski, director of services and robotics for Cubic Simulation Systems Division in Orlando, Fla. He considers the unmanned ground system, designed for situations that are considered high-risk for humans, to be indispensable to military and law-enforcement teams for bomb disposal and dangerous tactical situations.
“In order to maintain their certification, police bomb squads are required to have robot equipment to keep their technicians out of harm’s way as much as possible,” Kulakowski adds. “While many bomb technicians like larger robots, they’re also more expensive; and because there are so few of them, it can take time to deploy them where needed. Our concept is to have a small device that fits in a squad-car trunk and can be used to evaluate whether a threat is benign or needs to be eliminated.”
The six-wheeled COUGAR measures less than two-feet long and two-feet wide, and roughly a half-foot tall. Able to be hand-carried, it can fit beneath a car or in confined spaces to perform clandestine surveillance.
The unmanned system is equipped with a pivoting camera able to deliver daylight or infrared video from a range of up to 500 feet. Two disruptors, supporting various types of disruptor charges, are bore-sighted with the camera and can be used to destroy the firing mechanism of a bomb, blow the end off a pipe bomb to render it harmless, or generate an intense flash and sound impulse to create a diversion.
Cubic licensed and adapted the base technology for COUGAR from Scientific Applications & Research Associates Inc. in Los Angeles.
Targeted at law enforcement and homeland security personnel, COUGAR represents a new focus on robotics for Cubic, an international supplier of training systems and defense communications equipment.
Cubic officials, including Kulakowski, anticipate future generations of COUGAR perhaps capable of autonomous operation. Today, an operator controls the device via handheld controller and a ruggedized laptop for visual feedback.
For more information, visit Cubic Corp. online at www.cubic.com.