When we think drones, we envision UAV fixed-wing or rotary flying devices. Well, there’s now a UAV rolling ball that’s equally comfortable travelling across land, water or the Martian countryside.
Meet GuardBot, a spherical drone that doesn’t fly. It rolls across the surface of the Earth or across water gathering data using sensors, including those able to collect sub-surface soil data.
“GuardBot was initially conceived for a planetary mission to Mars. That’s why our robots can traverse all terrains, including paved roads, dirt paths, dunes, snowy fields, sloped mountains and even water,” says GuardBot president Peter Muhlrad in a release.
The various versions of GuardBot range in size from six inches in diameter to seven feet in diameter. All versions are round, except for two clear pods, which can hold a whole long list of various data-gathering instruments. Ground-penetrating radar is a feature that has the most potential for agriculture and resource development.
On land, it rolls along at speeds up to 12 mph. On water, it splashes along at three mph. It can move forward or backward, and make 360 degree spins.
It can operate continuously for up to 25 hours on one charge.
Guardbot’s motivational antics are controlled by changing the centre of gravity within the sphere, much like the big clear plastic balloons that little kids love to play in at birthday parties.
The list of possible uses is long, according to Muhlrad in a recent press release.
- Forest fire mitigation
- School safety
- Ecologic and geologic testing of land structures to collect subsurface data
- Amphibious surveillance
- Monitoring Hazardous Materials spills and environmental damage
- Monitoring dangerous weather conditions
- Detection of hazardous chemicals
“GuardBot spherical robots can even navigate upstream” says Muhlrad.
“GuardBot is equipped with pods on its right and left sides that contain interchangeable sensors, such as video cameras, thermal, infrared, microphones, GPS, audio for continuous content gathering, transmission of data and constant communication with command control.”
GuardBot is produced by Aquiline Drones, one of only four drone airline companies in the United States holding an FAA 135 Air Carrier Certificate.