Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) are mobile robots. While relatively new to the civilian marketplace, just making news last week as a UGV helped end the standoff with the Dallas gunman, these devices have been in use by the military for more than a decade. (Remember the opening scene to the 2008 Oscar-winning movie, “The Hurt Locker”?) The advantages of UGVS to our armed forces have been significant and numerous.
In combat situations, UGV’s are
- sent ahead of platoons to examine terrain they are about to enter
- allowing the soldier to spot enemies that might be waiting to ambush them
- scoping out enemy snipers in the area
- allowing troops to peek around corners and investigate for suspected bombs
- used simply to bring supplies to soldiers in combat
Another advantage is that UGVs can be engineered to traverse even the most extreme terrain.
However, the terrain itself can pose serious threats to the UGV’s ground system communications.
Other disadvantages include:
- that the vehicle can be destroyed before it has benefited any soldier
- that the vehicle can have a technological error and become useless.
- that UGV’s can only see a portion of its environment
And mountains, among other terrain, have the potential to block or delay command signals and other mission critical information. As a result, communication systems become the largest UGV design risk. In order to avoid communication errors, UGVs need to be designed with GPS tracking capabilities and artificial intelligence systems so the vehicle can operate on its own and its location can always be known.
Forecast International predicts that the global market value for unmanned ground vehicles — among militaries and civilian agencies — will grow 477 percent over the next decade, from $69.9 million in 2015 to $403.6 million in 2024. Unit production is projected to double during that timeframe.
“As the technology moves into the civilian market, the number of buyers proliferate and the costs are driven down,” explains Peter Singer, a robotics expert at the New America Foundation. “People can experiment more, do more things … and that opens up new opportunities”. Singer cited computing and video cameras as examples of these civilian technologies.
In the Scott Goldfine “Security Sales & Integration” interview, David Antar, President of IPVideo Corporation discusses how the integration of civilian-driven technologies within UGVs will be a driving force in making this technology more applicable and accessible to the non-military sector.
“In the past 5 to 10 years, the scope of solutions that have become integrated with video products through the network has expanded rapidly to the point that, today, the connectivity to the IoT is driving how technology is being used…Bringing this concept to the next level, we’re now working to provide security and video surveillance software that interfaces with robotic vehicle prototypes. We see robotics being able to augment human intervention and interaction in a wide variety of applications, whether it be to improve efficiency, lower operating costs or reduce exposure of humans to dangerous situations.”
Visit www.robolliance.com to learn more about what other thought leaders within the security market anticipate from this emerging technology within the coming years.