Switzerland details recent robotic and autonomous systems programmes



by Olivia Savage

Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre are experimenting with robotic systems that combine both wheeled and legged locomotion. (ETH Zurich)

The Swiss Federal Office for Defence Procurement (armasuisse) is trialling robotic quadruped, remote-controlled spider excavators and various drones.

The Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre (SDRZ) are experimenting with robotic quadrupeds that combine both wheeled and legged locomotion, Mark Höpflinger, Head of the SDRZ told
Janes
at the SMi Military Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2022 (SMi MRAS 2022) conference, in London.

An initial trial held in 2019 discovered that the system was slow and ineffective, even on flat terrain, Höpflinger explained.

The locomotion concept was further developed, and in 2021, a research demonstrator discovered that the system was able to drive up to 40 km/h and had the capability to walk on rough terrain or stairs.

SDRZ is also working with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to increase the payload capability to 60 kg, Höpflinger noted.

Possible future applications for such robotic systems include supporting search-and-rescue, MEDEVAC, CADEVAC, CBRNE operations, Höpflinger said.




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