A leading defense systems company built a UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle), an innovative, portable robot to enable a range of military applications, including warfare and homeland security functions. The robot’s compact dimensions (46 x 46 x 23 cm) give it stealth-like qualities and allow it to fit into a soldier’s field pack. An operator can control the robot’s movement and actions from a safe distance using a radio-operated console and eye-piece camera.

The robot incorporates a “bridge” – two rods whose primary purpose is to balance the robot in rugged terrain. The robot’s wheels can navigate rough terrain and overcome obstacles by transforming into tracks with support wheels on each side of the principal wheel. The wheel-to-track technology also enables the robot to climb stairs.

The robot can carry a variety of payloads, such as a camera, sensors, pistol, grenade launcher and task-oriented tools.

Read this case study to learn how to:

  • Get up to 5.6 kW continuous power using a matchbox-sized servo drive
  • Receive MIL-STD qualification and extreme conditions ratings for your products
  • Minimize development time and time-to-market

Radio controlled Robot

Machine Requirements

Given its sensitive functionality, the surveillance robot had to be highly reliable with an extended mean time between failures (MTBF). It needed to be light enough to be carried by field soldiers, and small enough to fit easily into a soldier’s kit and avoid detection by opposing combatants. Given its size, it required lightweight motion control products that could supply high power-density within a confined space. The products had to be durable so that the robot could operate in extreme environmental conditions (EECs), including high and low temperatures and high humidity. Components needed to be able to withstand mechanical shock and function in challenging and unpredictable battlefield conditions.

Motion Control Solution

The developer chose the Gold Bee digital servo drive due to its compact size, light weight and the fact that it is PCB-mounted and can be integrated into the robot. The Gold Bee drive measures just 35 x 30 x 14 mm, weighs only 22g and delivers up to 5.6 kW of continuous power. It can perform sophisticated motion control loops for precise movement and its excellent connectivity eliminates the need for extra components.

The Gold Bee is part of Elmo’s ExtrIQ Line, designed for rugged and extreme conditions like those the robotic vehicle is designed for.

Five  Gold Bee drives were installed in the robot: one for each of the two wheels, one for each expansion into the track device and a fifth drive to control the motion of the “bridge”, which changes position as the robot moves. All five drives were installed on a single PCB within the compact confines of the robot and with minimal cabling. Elmo supplied detailed documentation and consulting services for PCB integration and the connector types and locations were chosen to optimize the robot’s performance and minimize maintenance.

The Gold Bee drives can perform sophisticated motion control loops for precise movement, feedback inputs, programming capabilities and communication support. Excellent connectivity eliminates the need for extra components.

Elmo’s proprietary Elmo Application Studio (EAS) software was used to program the Gold Bee commands, enabling the robot to perform precise tasks that require rapid and accurate movement.

Results

Elmo’s engineers worked closely with the design team to ensure that the products were successfully integrated, enabling faster time to market. The solution included compact, pin-based, PCB solutions with a small footprint. The Gold Bee drives offered a high-power-density, intelligent solution that provided the fast and precise motion control and reliability needed to protect soldiers’ lives in extreme battlefield situations.

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