Are UGS (Unmanned Ground Systems) Commercial ground-based drones in our near future?
While we’re all currently focused on the issues surrounding commercial UAS for aerial imaging, data networking and small package delivery in our near future, what do we know about commercial UGS (Unmanned Ground Systems) plans for use in our daily lives? With resistance to getting the Amazon Drones off the ground due to current FAA regulatory indecision, maybe instead of looking to the skies for our answers, we might focus here on the ground.
Sure, we’ve seen examples of military and tactical robots and vehicles, such as the popular Boston Dynamics biped and quadruped robots under development – which conjure up visions of military applications or possible SaR (Search and Rescue) applications, but what about more utilitarian commercial uses?
Or how about the existing iRobot 510 PackBot that is operated by remote control through an FPV cam mounted on an extension arm, or their other more popular commercial autonomous robotic household products like the iRobot Roomba Vacuum or the iRobot Mirra Pool Cleaner. These ingenious products are designed to make our lives safer and better – some doing mundane tasks around the home.
But are we merely scratching the surface in this technology today? Are we headed toward becoming automated households filled with robotic gadgetry like the Jetsons? Will every modern home eventually have a Honda Asimo playing the future role of Rosie their robot maid?
And what about autonomous transportation or people and goods? Are we really ready to have self-driving cars, trucks and delivery-bots sharing our streets and walkways?
The technology is already being tested and proven safer than manned vehicles with the Google Self-Driving Car Project currently on the streets in Mountain View, CA and Austin, TX. In other areas, self-driving trucks and delivery vehicles are being tested on closed road tracks worldwide. The technology for safe and reliable autonomous transportation is rapidly improving and becoming more compact with micronized electronics and hardware, which enables a broader range of use.
Recently, Kobi Shikar, a student at the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design in Israel designed an ingenious modular UGS that is scaleable for single package home delivery up to a multi-unit container mover. His design, the Transwheel is a futuristic autonomous robotic wheel, based on what appears to be a unicycle version of the Segueue design with GPS locator and telemetry.
With self balancing arms and automated leveling system, the Transwheel can work independently for small tasks such as home delivery or parts running in a factory, to a combined autonomous pattern using several Transwheels to handle much larger tasks.
With creative design coming from today’s young engineering students such as Kobi has illustrated, we might just see these task-bots navigating around us and making our lives easier, safer, and advancing technology even further.