IDEX: Swedish Company Rolls Out Sand-Proof Robot

By Stew Magnuson

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Traveling the aisles of the IDEX show was one of the more unusual reconnaissance and surveillance robots being offered by vendors this year.
Shaped like a ball, and about the size of a standard car tire, the GroundBot has two cameras with 360-degree ranges and zoom lenses.
"The reason behind the unusual shape is so that it can be completely sealed. That way it cannot be damaged by sand, dust or water," said Viktor Kaznov, the chief technical officer at Rotundus AB, a Sweden-based company. The sphere shape also allows it to travel more easily on difficult surfaces.
Almost all mechanical systems are prone to damage by sand, he said. The sealed robot can both swim and operate on land, he added.
It is envisioned for perimeter security at harbors, airports and industrial plants, he said. The ball is made from a polycarbonate and covered with rubber. It weighs about 55 pounds. It can either be remotely controlled or use GPS for waypoint navigation.
Originally envisioned for planetary exploration, Rotundus has a number of marketing agreements with other countries, but so far has only sold a few robots in Sweden. It now has teamed up with a local UAE company hoping its sand-proof exterior will make it attractive to Middle East customers.
Keep watching National Defense Magazine’s blog for daily reports from the 2011 IDEX and NAVDEX exhibitions at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 21-24.
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Topics: Robotics, Unmanned Ground Vehicles

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