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QinetiQ North America rolls out a robotic first: the field-transformable Dragon Runner robot


QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group has launched its new Dragon Runner Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV). Dragon Runner SUGV is the first fully modular ground robot system capable of both quick reconnaissance and improvised explosive device (IED) disarmament in urban, mountainous or rural environments.

Based on a robot originally designed for the US Marine Corps, the modular base unit Dragon Runner weighs less than 20 pounds and can be carried by one person in a standard-issue pack. With field-transformable features that quickly snap or bolt into place – no special tools required – Dragon Runner SUGV can morph to fit virtually any mission.

Dragon Runner SUGV can adapt quickly to fit a variety of critical mission scenarios. These include: reconnaissance inside buildings, sewers, drainpipes, caves and courtyards; perimeter security using on-board motion and sound detectors; checkpoint security; in-vehicle and under-vehicle inspections; and hostage barricade reconnaissance and negotiation.

Operators of Dragon Runner SUGV have the ability to add tracks for maximum mobility and a manipulator arm with rotating shoulder, wrist and grippers for dexterity. In addition, day and night pan/tilt/zoom cameras, motion detectors and a listening capability allow Dragon Runner SUGV to further extend the combat team’s situational awareness.

Additionally, Dragon Runner SUGV, gives operators field-changeable frequency capabilities, using analogue or digital radio options, to improve flexibility and range. Standard vehicle and operator control unit batteries mean that troops can use available government inventory for reduced cost and improved sustainability, making Dragon Runner SUGV even easier to integrate into current missions.

“We listened closely to our military customers’ needs, and Dragon Runner SUGV is the result,“ said Dr. William Ribich, President of the Technology Solutions Group, QinetiQ North America. ”We’ve created a lightweight, modular robot that can climb stairs, open doors, provide critical reconnaissance information and disarm IEDs – all while protecting our troops, who control the robot from a safe distance.”

QinetiQ North America also provides a worldwide maintenance and support plan to return battle-damaged Dragon Runner SUGVs to active duty as quickly as possible.

“When Dragon Runner SUGV takes a hit, that means at least one soldier or marine was kept from harm,” Ribich concluded.

About Dragon Runner:

Dragon Runner is currently the smallest and also one of the newest members of the TALON family of QinetiQ North America robots. The current mainstay of the TALON family, the combat-proven TALON mid-size robot, has been in use since 2000 with over 2,000 fielded worldwide by the U.S. military.


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