By Paolo Valpolini
L3Harris Technologies, the new company resulting from the merging of Harris Corporation and L3 Technologies, the operation having been completed on June 29 this year, unveiled in London a new medium-sized robotic system aimed at security operations in urban and in space-constrained environments.
The new T4 comes after the successful T7 multi-mission robotic system, but is much smaller and adapts better to numerous situations were quick deployment as well as mobility in reduced space are an issue. A key element of the new T4 is the haptic feedback provided by the manipulation and control system, which is the same used in the T7. This allows carrying out complex tasks quickly and easy, L3Harris saying that compared to standard control systems the task can be completed in 20% less time. The ground control station hosts the haptic controller and a daylight-visible display, as well as the radio link allowing a LOS range of 1 km and an NLOS range of 200 meters, a two-way audio ink being also available, the whole system being contained in a box weighing 16 kg.
Coming to the robot, it weighs 100 kg, compared to the 322 kg of its bigger brother, dimensions being 920x445x580 versus the 1201 x 701 x 1161 mm of the T7, showing well how much it can better adapt to constrained environments. While designing a smaller robot compared to the T7, L3Harris aimed at giving it the same capabilities.
To ensure stairs climbing capability the T4 is fitted with outriggers; however these are not fixed to the chassis, as in many light/medium UGVs, but to the arm base. This allows to orient the outriggers with the arm, considerably increasing the system stability and allowing to lift considerable loads. The T4 arm reach is 2 meters horizontal and 2.5 meters vertical, compared to respectively 2.2 and 3.1 of the T7, lift capability being 55 kg near chassis and 20 kg at maximum reach, the latter figure being slightly lesser than that of the T7, 27 kg, while obviously the maximum lift of the T7 at shorter distances is the double. The T4 arm can reach an object 1.3 meters below ground. These performances remain however considerable as the T4 is less than one third the weight of the T7. The manipulator is fitted with a force-sensing gripper fitted with a non-conductive wire cutter, and can support up to two large disruptors and up to three firing circuits. L3Harris made considerable effort to design the system in order to accept third party payloads and sensors, especially those in the CBRN field where no interface standards have yet been established.
The platform is fitted with a number of cameras, two fixed focus mounted front and rear for driving, one mounted on the gripper and equipped with a zoom lens, and a continuous pan-tilt camera with a 120x zoom.
Back to mobility, the T4 can reach a maximum speed of over 8 km/h, and can run for over 4 hours using four Lithium-Ion BB-2590 batteries.
The first robot of this size to be equipped with haptic control, the T4 is currently at pre-production level, L3Harris having produced until now two T4 systems for demonstrations and trials, more pre-production being readied. As for the start of production, this has still to be determined, EDR On-Line understanding that the company is awaiting a customer before launching it.
Photos courtesy L3Harris