Since the 20th century, various types of robots have been used in wartime to give each side a leg up on the other. As with all technologies, robotics has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past century. Imagine the benefits of the US Army or the Marines having the most sophisticated technology specialized in surveillance and reconnaissance. Stepping in to fulfill this agenda is Macroswiss, a Switzerland-based company that has yet to celebrate its 10-year anniversary.
Macroswiss’ 4-wheel drive (4WD) Micro SpyRobot is the newest advancement in tactical reconnaissance and close target surveillance. Although the robot is an unattended ground vehicle (UGV), it is being shipped with a soldier-worn control system. The Micro SpyRobot will provide the operator with the benefits of UGV capabilities, such as enabling armed personnel a preview of enclosed spaces. In addition, the robot is typically used for applications of a tactical capacity, including building recon, search and close examination of suspicious objects, vehicles, and sensor delivery. Also, it provides live imagery and audio information on multi-terrain platforms. This, in turn, will provide operators with a greater situational awareness and give them more leverage in potentially dangerous environments.
This robust, back-packable Micro SpyRobot can swim and is capable of traversing virtually any terrain. It weighs in at approximately 2.2 pounds and its light weight enables it to perform very well in the most unwelcoming terrain. With its 4WD mechanism it can travel at relatively high speeds of 6 miles per hour (mph), which provides rapid exploration times in both urban and rural environments. Its compact size, light weight, and resilient construction only add to the fact that this is an UGV that operates independently, without any base vehicle support.
The SpyRobot has already proven its capabilities in defensive roles, mainly dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) in today’s hotspots, such as Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This innovative new robot has performed so impressively that it has earned itself a combat role for the US Army’s Airborne Expeditionary Force (AAEF).
In accordance with the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF), Macroswiss is developing a 6×6 version of the tried-and-true SpyRobot 4WD. The 6×6 version is an important new tool for target detection, recognition, and identification. On a basic level it has a greatly improved payload capacity and is able to carry four times its own weight. However, it will be loaded with more capabilities not included on its predecessor. These include employing thermal and optic sensors. On the 6×6, the operator will be allowed to maneuver and control a variety of sensors such as urban recon, sensor delivery, search, sentry, perimeter, and force protection as well as revealing potential ambush. Future design goals include an autonomous “return home” function, and increased operating ranges and endurance.
Providing our troops with the most sophisticated technology money can buy is a small price to pay to ensure their safety. The innovative 4WD SpyRobot, Micro SpyRobot and 6×6 SpyRobot from Macroswiss, with their capabilities at the forefront of technology, are three such weapon systems that can help our soldiers and Marines do their jobs better and stay safe.