comes of age: The UGEV from Agritechnique Engineering
Heavy-duty, smart, tool-equipped UGEVs are at a premium
Nearly five years on from the Fukushima disaster and still there is no ground vehicle, manned or unmanned, capable of tearing its way into reactor buildings or demolishing collapsed structures to gain entrance to hazardous environments as those at Fukushima.
And if there is an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) tough enough to get to such a harrowing destination, what then? Does it have the right, on-board toolset to do the job it was sent to do?
Does it have a sensor array and vision capabilities to see what it?s doing? Is command and control smart and agile enough to maximize its tools for optimum impact?
To date there?s only one. It?s the first of a new breed of powerful, disaster-ready robots readily capable of taking on tough jobs too dangerous for humans.
Toolbox on treads
The Unmanned Ground Engineering Vehicle or UGEV from Agritechnique Engineering is the only UGV that ?converts? to four different vehicles. Its on-board, heavy-duty tools with automatic attachment system?remotely operated from up to one mile distant?is like having a Swiss Army knife of versatility in a single vehicle.
Need a tough vehicle to deal with dangerous industrial accident sites, such as in nuclear power plants? Earthquake, tsunami, hurricane ? or other natural disaster demand a search and rescue vehicle that can endure hardships? Landmines or IEDs require removal? Does security incident need a vehicle for breaching and penetrating buildings and other structures?
The UGEV is the only vehicle of its type that can successfully take on all four missions.
Industry expert, Dr. Robin Murphy, points out in Disaster Robotics that disaster/ rescue UGVs, differ from general UGVs in that they must satisfy three constraints simultaneously:
- They must be environmentally hardened enough to operate in extreme terrains and conditions;
- They must be able to operate where GPS and wireless signals are blocked; and,
- They must be able to interact with victims or responders ?in front of? the robot as well as with the operator and stakeholders ?behind? the robot.
That?s a hard-hitting set of requirements for any vehicle, but the UGEV Unmanned Ground Engineering Vehicle from Israeli-based Agritechnique Engineering, Ltd. delivers on Dr. Murphy?s three constraints, packing all of those abilities into a single ?convertible? vehicle that can transform itself into four different vehicle modes to meet a wide range of crisis needs.
In addition, the UGEV?s ?toolbox capabilities? are what really sets this one-of-a-kind vehicle apart.
Variations on a theme
Agritechnique Engineering, Ltd. has been around since the 1980s, but reinvented itself with its recent, patent-pending breakthrough vehicle, the UGEV.
The UGEV Unmanned Ground Engineering Vehicle?s conversion variations cover four broad service areas of potential need:
- UGEV/SR Search & Rescue Engineering Vehicle
- UGEV/NPPIR Nuclear Power Plant Inspection Robotics Vehicle
- UGEV/HDTV Humanitarian Demining Task Vehicle
- UGEV/MHLS Military and Homeland Security Vehicle
Emergency situations are sudden, unexpected, violent and never easy to deal with. There?s never enough of a chance to get ready for them and they?re always more dangerous than anyone expects.
Having a multipurpose vehicle capable of dealing with all sorts of hazardous environments is a valuable and cost-effective asset.
The Agritechnique UGEV is as smart as it is versatile, which is necessary when addressing the varying communication needs to ?interact with victims or responders ?in front of? the robot as well as with the operator and stakeholders ?behind? the robot.?
The UGEV is equipped with five video cameras, including some with zoom functions operated from the control command box. The screen of the remote command control box displays all camera views, including the reverse movement camera in real time.
In addition, the UGEV also has a microphone that transmits audio to a speaker built into the control box, allowing the remote operators to hear the UGEV working, which helps them operate the UGEV as if they are actually sitting inside it.
The UGEV?s quiet but powerful Perkins 800 Series turbocharged, 4 cylinder diesel engine, delivers up performance speeds of between 8 and 17 mph; and can be operated to efficiently breach obstacles, open doors, and ascend or descend stairs inside structures, or outdoors where the rubber tracks of its undercarriage make it a surefooted and powerful, all-terrain vehicle.
And, when the UGEV gets to where it?s going its toolbox is a veritable Swiss Army knife of attachments for maximum effectiveness in the field. ?Dozens of off-the-shelf, ready to use tools ?such as hydraulic hammers, cutting discs, clamps for heavy lifting, and buckets to break through walls and doors and collect items – are compatible with the tool attachment system, conferring on the UGEV the functional flexibility that enables it to perform a wide variety of tasks.?
Capabilities (partial list of over 80 different attachments):
- Buckets (as soil scraper, grader, sample collector, and for earth moving)
- Clamps for heavy lifting
- Combat military attachments
- Cutting discs
- Hydraulic hammers
- Steel cutter
- Valve closer
All of the UGEV versions are fitted with on-board, heavy tool attachment systems that support automatic remote tool interchangeability.
The UGEV is also capable of operation in contaminated CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive) environments.
Agritechnique Engineering, Ltd.
Avner Opperman, CEO (founder)