T Hawk Autonomous Flying Robot Saves Lives
Honeywell's T-Hawk RQ-16 drone, an autonomous micro air vehicle with hover and stare capabilities, is saving the lives of soldiers stationed in Afghanistan....
The British Ministry of Defense has employed a new device designed to minimize casualties in the search for IEDs, land mines and roadside bombs.
The T-Hawk RQ-16, a small autonomous drone, offers hover and stare capabilities enabling close reconnaissance and scrutiny of potential threats without exposing the soldier to unnecessary risk.
Developed by Honeywell and named after the Tarantula Hawk that swoops down on the poisonous spiders in the desert, this micro air vehicle uses a fan duct engine to hover anywhere from inches to hundreds of feet above the ground. It weighs 17lbs, is 14″ in diameter, has a top speed of 46 mph, and can be easily launched from a backpack or vehicle.
The T-Hawk can fly for up 50 minutes autonomously, and if the operator sees anything suspicious, they can take control and zoom in for a closer look.
The device, which costs around the price of a luxury car, weighs less than 20lbs and comes equipped with day and infra-red cameras that relay information back to soldiers using a hand-held receiver.
Lt Gen Andrew Figgures, the MoD’s head of procurement told reporters that the new devices were “undoubtedly saving lives”.
“These vehicles will improve our operational success and reduce our casualties.”
It has already saved a number of American lives in Afghanistan where 25 RQ-16s are in service. The MoD plans to put them in service after evaluation of 6 newly purchased T-Hawks.
It is hope by next year, a host of tiny robots will take over the dangerous search for explosives.
There are also rumors the MoD may adopt other robots in the effort to reduce casualties, devices like the Shadow Robot Company’s Dexterous Hand, one of the worlds most advanced robotic hands.
The Dexterous hand is to able to move exactly like a human, it can wield tools such as a small screwdriver and can even cut wires. The hand is operated remotely using a special controller glove. Check out the clip below to see the Dexterous Hand in action.
In America, another robot is proving its worth on the battlefield. The Dragonrunner, is a small, highly robust four-wheeled buggy that can be mounted with an array of cameras and gadgets.
The device, which looks more like a toy remote controlled car, is hailed for its durability. Not only can it discreetly spy on the enemy, it can be thrown off the back of vehicles, or through windows into areas under heavy fire, it will then zip around and survey the area before bursting out, smashing windows as it goes.
It also has the ability to place a disrupter device to detonate a bomb. Check the clip out below of the Dragonrunner in action.
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