Corporate logo

Robotic Operations Command Center

MDARS-E with gunpod and marsupial carrier SSC San Diego is engaging in several engineering development thrusts aiming at expanding the force protection and force-multiplication capabilities of robotics, making use of our existing programs and platforms. One of these thrusts is the development of a non-lethal gun pod, others include marsupial robotics, tandom robots, and universal network devices.

Non-lethal weapon podTaking just three weeks from concept formulation to initial testing, an Angel 2001 paintball gun was completely integrated with the MDARS-E platform and the Multiple Host Resource Architecture (MRHA). Its maximum firing rate is 13 rounds-per-second, but with the time restrictions due to the paintball hopper it averages between 10-12 rounds per second. A camera is mounted directly above the barrel of the gun to allow the operator to accurately view the target. The operator uses a joystick at the command console to pan and tilt the camera, and to fire the weapon.

Under the shroud The paintball gun uses .68- caliber RPS Marballizer ammunition, and is supplied air from a 4500-psi accumulator. The 1440-cubic-inch accumulator can hold enough air to fire approximately 1500 rounds before refilling. The pan action for the gun turret is implemented using a Dojen M03 reduction unit powered by a 24-volt DC motor producing a maximum of 500 in-lbs of torque. The tilt action is supplied by a 24-volt DC Ultra Motion Smart Actuator, model SA2.

The gun pod is controlled by an ipEngine (PowerPC single-board computer) from Brightstar Engineering. The ipEngine is located inside the gun pod electronics box under the black shroud. The control software is based upon the Small Robot Technology architecture that is common to all D371 network-enabled resource devices (NERDs). The gun pod operates as an independent software agent that registers itself with the MRHA Operator Station. The Operator Station issues standard payload movement commands as well as payload arm and fire commands.

Potential future work includes automatic target detection/tracking, coordinated/cooperative targeting between multiple autonomous weapons pods, size reduction of the hardware, use of alternative rounds (i.e., pepper balls as used by the Border Patrol), and advanced detection sensors (radar, acoustic, seismic).

Movie clips:

MDARS-E attacking URBOT with the paint-ball gun 1467 KB URBOT being attacked by MDARS-E with paintball gun.

Robotics at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego

Please address all questions/comments to:
Last update: 11 January 2002.