Robot dogs now have the ability to swim

Ghost Robotics has long touted its Vision 60 Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicles, or Q-UGVs, more commonly referred to as robot dogs, as eminently modular platforms that easily adapt to a wide range of roles, including as scouts armed with rifles. Now, thanks to a “tail” kit with a water jet propulsion system from Onyx Industries, the company has added the ability to swim to the Vision 60’s list of abilities.

Onyx Industries’ Nautical Autonomous Unmanned Tail (NAUT) makes the Vision 60, versions of which are already in US military service, the first fully amphibious Q-UGV on the market, according to Ghost Robotics. “The robot [the Vision 60-series] has helped military, law enforcement and corporate customers on land and now with the addition of Nautical Autonomous Unmanned Tail (NAUT)…it can also help in the water”, text accompanying a short video presentation which the company posted on social media, seen below, says.

Performance and other details about the capabilities of NAUT-equipped Vision 60s, such as how fast they can swim or their maximum endurance in water, do not appear to be readily available. The war zone contacted Ghost Robotics and Onyx Industries for more information.

“Battery life is a key issue. Eventually, we’re going to give it walking and movement so it can swim,” said Ghost Robotics founder Jiren Parikh, who sadly passed away in March. The war zone in 2020 regarding the potential future use of the Vision 60 in the coastal environment. “We have filed patents. It’s really cool.”

It should be noted that the NAUT-equipped Vision 60 does not appear to use its four legs in any way when in the water, relying entirely on the rear-mounted articulated waterjet for propulsion and The direction.

From a LinkedIn post from Onyx, we know that the complete NAUT unit includes a semi-autonomous control system that also allows an operator to manually control the Q-UGV remotely. Ghost Robotics has already demonstrated similar capabilities on non-amphibious Vision 60s, as you can read more about in this past war zone characteristic.

A US Air Force member uses a tablet-like decision to remotely operate a Ghost Robotics Vision 60 Q-UGV. USAF Tiffany Award/Airman 1st Class

“The NAUT Jet Propulsion Unit transforms any IP67 or higher platform, from robotics to small craft, into a remotely piloted and/or autonomously activated system,” according to Onyx. IP67 refers to a particular classification level in the internationally accepted Ingress Protection (IP) code, which covers how electronic devices and other electrical systems can be protected against water, as well as other things, penetrating inside. The first and second digits of the rating system refer to separate levels of protection, with the 6 in IP67 meaning that the system in question is fully dustproof, while the 7 means that it has survived temporary immersion in water at a depth of between just under six inches (15 centimeters) and just over 3 feet (1 meter) in a test lasts about 30 minutes.

Either way, the amphibious capability provided by the NAUT opens up various possibilities as to how a Vision 60 could be used in support military operations, law enforcement activities, or in other areas. other roles. The Vision 60s have demonstrated their ability to walk in shallow water, but the ability to cross obstacles in deeper water can only increase their flexibility, whatever the missions entrusted to them.

For example, in a military context, it could give even a relatively small unit a way to scout the situation on the opposite shore of a body of water, such as a river or lake, before attempting to cross. A NAUT-equipped Vision 60 could potentially be able to determine a safe path through a water obstacle, which could also contain mines or other hazards. These same attributes could be useful in a more general reconnaissance scenario, opening up additional routes that one of these Q-UGVs could take towards the target area, potentially helping it avoid detection.

Onyx Industries showcased NAUT at this year’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), an annual event hosted by the National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) in Tampa, Florida. This highlights the potential value of this suit in support of various special operations forces missions, such as “special reconnaissance” deep behind enemy lines and direct action raids.

“We could potentially use it to sit there, maybe move it around, maybe blow something up or detect something on a river bed or a shoreline,” Parikh, the late founder and CEO of Ghost Robotics, in 2020 talking about potential military applications. for the Vision 60.

A NAUT-equipped Vision 60 would be valuable in supporting law enforcement and other first responders, especially in disaster response scenarios where they might also be dealing with flooded areas full of unknown hazards.

Either way, NAUT certainly points to the modularity of the Vision 60 platform and Ghost Robotics’ continued partnership with many other companies to help outfit these Q-UGVs so they can perform a multitude of missions. Now, with these new “tails”, these robot dogs will be able to bring at least some of these abilities to the water.

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