Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) has inked a partnership with Philadelphia-based Ghost Robotics to identify uses cases involving legged robots for security, defence, and humanitarian applications. They will look to test and develop mobile robotic systems, as well as the associated technology enablers, that can be deployed in challenging urban terrain and harsh environments.
The collaboration also would see robots from Ghost Robotics paired with DSTA's robotics command, control, and communications (C3) system, the two partners said in a joint statement released Thursday.
The Singapore government agency said its C3 capabilities were the "nerve centre" of military platforms and command centres, tapping data analytics, artificial intelligence, and computer vision technologies to facilitate "tighter coordination" and effectiveness during military and other contingency operations.
Its robotics C3 system enabled simultaneous control and monitoring of multiple unmanned ground and air systems to deliver a holistic situation outline for coordinated missions, including surveillance in dense urban environments.
With the partnership, DSTA and Ghost Robotics would test and develop "novel technologies and use cases" for quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicles, which would be integrated with multi-axis manipulators. These would enhance how the autonomous vehicles interacted with their environment and objects within it.
Power technologies, such as solid-state batteries or fuel cells, also would be integrated to allow the robotics systems to operate for extended periods of time.
DSTA's deputy chief executive for operations and director of land systems, Roy Chan, said: "In the world of fast-evolving technology, close collaboration between organisations is imperative to co-create use cases and innovative solutions. In partnering Ghost Robotics, DSTA hopes to advance robotic capabilities in defence and shape the battlefield of the future.
"We envision that robots would one day become a defender's best friend and be deployed to undertake more risky and complex operations in tough terrains," Chan said.
DSTA is tasked with tapping science and technology to develop capabilities for the country's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), including the use of autonomous vehicles. The Ministry of Defence and SAF in June 2021 unveiled a transformation strategy to address evolving security challenges and threats, which encompassed efforts to leverage technological advancements to better tap data and new technologies, such as robotics C3 systems, and integrate these technologies into warfighting concepts to improve operational effectiveness and reduce manpower requirements.
According to Ghost Robotics, its quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicles were built for unstructured terrain, on which a typical wheeled or tracked device could not operate efficiently.