CARVER way forward for bomb disposal

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 August 2004




(2004), "CARVER way forward for bomb disposal", Industrial Robot, Vol. 31 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

CARVER way forward for bomb disposal

CARVER way forward for bomb disposal

Keywords: Robots, Military

UK scientists are using world-leading technology to create a next-generation counter-terrorist bomb disposal robot, which can delicately pick up the smallest objects or place disruptive charges against suspect vehicles, while operators keep a safe distance.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has been tasked by the Ministry of Defence to research the latest robotics and remote control techniques to underpin the procurement of the replacement for the current equipment.

Dstl chose QinetiQ to design and develop the prototype technology because of its unparalleled expertise in the development of remote control vehicles for counter-terrorist bomb disposal.

The result is a test-bed model called CARVER which is currently trialling competing technologies and techniques. CARVER has a three-link robotic manipulator arm controlled by sophisticated software to allow it to carry out intricate movements, partly pre-programmed and partly controlled by the operator. Such flexibility allows the end of the robot arm to rummage inside a suspect car for example (Plate 3).

Plate 3 CARVER

CARVER is the most advanced equipment of its type in the world and includes:

  • a highly mobile platform, capable of up to 25 kph and excellent rough terrain performance;

  • modular design, making it easy to repair in the field and able to accept a wide range of sensors, such as cameras, collision-avoidance radar and explosives detectors;

  • composite materials hull provides better strength-to-weight ratio and simplified manufacture;

  • all-digital communications system allowing easier integration of new sub-systems and highly efficient control; and

  • operator range via either radio control or optical fibre.

Carver has attracted interest from the US Department of Defense and one of the demonstrators is being shipped over to the USA for trials.

Mark Ruglys, the Dstl Project Manager said: “Our world lead in bomb disposal techniques is a result of the long-running threat to the UK. The current equipment is effective but has several limitations. The benefit of the advanced features in CARVER is that it allows the separation of the bomb disposal operator from the target device for longer, and thus provides a much greater margin of operator safety”.

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