There are plenty of small unmanned surface
vehicles (USVs) running around collecting research data,
inspecting things, looking around for oil and gas, and
performing other innocuous tasks at sea. However, it’s
a different story with Elbit Systems’
( www.elbitsystems.com) Seagull, developed with
considerable input from the Israeli Navy and Ministry of
Defense. This badass anti-submarine warfare (ASW)
machine is 40 ft ( 12 m) long, powered by twin engines
that move it at up to 32 knots, and able to handle a
payload of 2. 5 tons.
Equipped with networked C4I (i.e., command,
control, communications, computers, and intelligence),
Seagull can perform missions for up to 96 hours
continuously, over ranges of up to 100 km ( 62 mi).
Elbit claims that just two Seagulls can replace an
entire frigate and its crew at “a fraction” of the typical
$220 million price tag. Seagull can also be configured
with a modular mine countermeasures (MCM) package.
According to Elbit, “Seagull provides unmanned end-to-end
mine hunting operations, from mission planning to online
operations in known and unknown areas, including area
survey, search, detection, classification, identification,
neutralization, and verification. It’s equipped to search the
entire water volume and operate underwater robotic
vehicles to identify and neutralize mines.”
In addition, the USV can be employed for harbor
protection, electronic warfare, defense of offshore oil rigs,
and other missions.
Elbit’s Seagull USV hunts subs, sweeps mines.
by Jeff and Jenn Eckert
Bot Flies, Perches, Climbs
One of the latest creations from
Stanford University’s Biomimetics and
Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory
( bdml.stanford.edu) is an insect-like
device cutely dubbed “SCAMP” for
“Stanford Climbing and Aerial
Described as a robot that’s part
woodpecker, part daddy longlegs, and
part hummingbird, it is billed as the
first robot that’s able to fly, passively
perch, climb, and take off.
It’s basically a quadrotor helicopter
equipped with two spiny feet that
allow it to crawl up a concrete or
stucco surface in 3. 5 in ( 9 cm) steps.
In operation, it flies tail first into a
wall, pivots 90 degrees on its tail, and
powers the rotors to maximum thrust
to press its feet hard enough to get a
grip. After the microspines are
engaged, the rotors are shut off, and
SCAMP can perch and climb at will. If
it makes a misstep, it automatically
recovers by re-engaging the rotors.
The ability to power down the
rotors and perch allow operation for as
long as two hours, as opposed to the
few minutes of endurance provided by
a typical quadcopter.
To watch a video, just go to
You Tube and search on “meet scamp.”
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Stanford’s SCAMP robot.