DARPA’s Big Dog is one impressive robot – so far, in the past few years, coverage of this particular robot has seen it more than capable of checking out various terrain, conquering them all without so much as breaking a sweat. Well, a sure footed robot like Big Dog cannot do everything either, which is why it needs to have a sidekick just in case there is terrain in which it cannot cross. A bunch of researchers from ETH Zurich’s Autonomous Systems Lab has decided that robots like Big Dog will not be stopped by seemingly impassible terrain, thanks to a packbot sidekick that comes in the form of a forward-scouting UAV.
This mechanical pair has been specially designed so that it can work alongside one another as they attempt to map and navigate ever changing terrain. The UAV will first fly ahead, generating a rough estimate of a map concerning the area, with relative elevations thrown into the mix as well. All that data will be relayed to the walking robot, which calculates what it thinks will be the most efficient route by land. A laser rangefinder is also used so that it can continue to update its elevation map, making sure that each step is sure footed, like that of a mountain goat. Too bad it can’t sniff out booby traps just yet. This does seem to be the realization of the Recordicons that answer only to the Decepticon Transformer Soundwave.