March 22, 2008 The extremely robust 4WD Spybot from Macroswiss would no doubt be the most tenacious robot we’ve seen – it can swim and traverse almost any terrain with its 4WD flapper wheels and seems virtually unstoppable. The tiny Spybot has been so impressive that it has earned itself a combat role for the U.S Army Airborne Expeditionary Force (AAEF) and Macroswiss is working in concert with the U.S Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) in the development of a 6x6 SpyRobot with greatly improved payload capacity(it can also carry 4 times its own weight) which will also be back-packable to offer UGV capability at squad level.
The Macroswiss SpyRobot 6x6 will be an important new tool for the detection, recognition and identification of targets from a distance, using thermal and optic sensors as well as new generation sensors such as Synthetic Aperture Radar. With its greatly improved carrying capacity, who knows what else it might find itself carrying in the back streets of Baghdad, Mosul, Tekrit and other hotspots.
It is known that several versions of the new 6x6 robot are being developed that will allow the operator to manoeuvre and operate a variety of weapons and sensors. Urban reconnaissance, sensor delivery, search, sentry, perimeter, and force protection fully controlled by the soldier, including checking out a potential ambush sites and vulnerable points, are applications for this 5kg Unattended Ground Vehicle (UGV). Developments such as a planned autonomous "return home" function, and increased operating ranges and endurance, whilst maintaining as small and portable a UGV as possible are future design goals.
The Macroswiss SpyRobot 4WD system is capable of close target surveillance and reconnaissance, of high risk and difficult to access targets. Providing live imagery and audio information, on a multi terrain platform that can deliver a sensor capability where personnel cannot go. The micro robots have already shown their capability in defensive roles, mainly dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) in the UK, Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Macroswiss Micro 4WD SpyRobot which will be will be initially supplied, will come with a soldier worn control system to provide a UGV capability down to squad level, putting into the hands of fighting units the ability to carry out close target reconnaissance of a target pre assault and allowing the commander and soldiers to make informed decisions, by providing a preview of enclosed spaces (particularly in the urban environment), which will significantly increase their Situational Awareness (SA).
It is typically used in applications of a tactical scope such as reconnaissance of buildings, search and close examination of suspicious objects, vehicles, and sensor delivery. The small 1kg platform performs very well in broken terrain. It has the ability to operate in any orientation and it is so robust that it can be thrown 10 meters on to the target.
The relatively high speed of the unit (10 km/h) also enables rapid exploration times both in structured urban environments and in rural scenarios. Its small size and light weight puts UGV capability into the domain of fighting units operating without base vehicle support.