Normally most bears sleep in the winter months. The Grizzly by Clearpath Robotics, though, not only stays awake in the snow, but is ready to clamber all over it.
The Grizzly is a robot, though at first glance it looks like an off-road vehicle missing the rest of its upper chassis. Manufacturer Clearpath Robotics states it developed the remote-controlled four-wheeler to perform research and development tasks in such heavy industries as agriculture, mining and military. To successfully traverse varied environments, the company equipped its robot with several unique features.
The working surface of the Grizzly is its two mounting areas located between the four massive wheels. Over 11 square feet of space is available for researchers to secure their equipment, experiments, and other cargo. Outlets of varying voltages are provided to power electronics like laptops and cameras. Storage bins also come standard. Optional equipment and features, such as tow hooks, are available. The robot has a payload capacity of 1600 pounds.
The Grizzly moves and, for the most part, acts like an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The standard 24-inch wheels work like those of a tractor, letting it ride over a wide variety of surfaces like loose dirt, rocks, and – of course – snow. The front axle of the 4×4 drive system can articulate up to 16 degrees, which allows the robot to stay planted while climbing uneven grounds. The underlying chassis offers eight inches of ground clearance as well.
Power is provided by a 60-watt electric motor that generates 80 horsepower. The Grizzly is an electric vehicle, and can travel at speeds up to 12 mph. Battery life is expected between 3-12 hours depending on the robot’s tasks. Towing 1,300 pounds of research equipment, for example, expends more power than simply crossing an open field without cargo. According to Clearpath, it takes 12 hours to recharge the spent battery.
More information on The Grizzly as well as its “siblings” – the Husky, Turtlebot 2, and the Kingfisher watercraft – can be found on Clearpath Robotics’ website. All the robots are currently available for purchase.