Sandia National Laboratories is displaying two versions of the Urban Hopper robot, a small wheeled robot that packs a central actuator powerful enough to land it on the roof of a two-story building.

"Its unique contribution is that it is a hopping vehicle," said Sandia engineer David Novick. "It has wheels so it can drive wherever it wants to, but if it comes across something that would stop a vehicle this size normally, it can actually hop up and over it."

The system uses two replaceable gas cartridges. The gases are mixed inside the piston chamber and ignited by a glow plug.

"We get about 20 hops at 20 feet," Novick said. If the hops are smaller, the robot can do more of them. "When it gets low, we can just take the cartridges out and put new cartridges in."

The Urban Hopper was developed as part of a DARPA program and has since been transitioned to robot builder Boston Dynamics, which will put it into production. Sandia is displaying both its version and the Boston Dynamics model.

The company plans to build 10 robots for an unspecified customer, Novick said.

Source: Flight Daily News