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“Griffon: A Man-Portable Hybrid UGV/UAV,” Brian Yamauchi and Pavlo Rudakevych,
 Industrial Robot 
, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 443-450, 2004.
Griffon: A Man-Portable Hybrid UGV/UAV
Brian Yamauchi and Pavlo RudakevychiRobot Corporation63 South AvenueBurlington, MA 01803yamauchi@irobot.com | pavlo@irobot.comABSTRACT
To demonstrate proof-of-concept of the Griffon man-portable hybrid UGV/UAV based on the iRobot PackBot.
We developed the Griffon Air Mobility System (AMS)consisting of a gasoline-powered propeller engine, a steerable parafoil, and a radio-controlledservo system. We integrated the AMS with a PackBot prototype, and we conducted ground andflight tests to validate this concept.
The Griffon prototype was capable of remote-controlled takeoff, flight, and landing.The Griffon achieved speeds of over 20 mph and altitudes of up to 200 feet.
Research limitations/implications:
We demonstrated the feasibility of developing a man- portable hybrid UGV/UAV. Future work may explore the possibilities for teleoperated, semi-autonomous, and fully autonomous control using the Griffon concept. The parafoil wing limitsthe usability of this vehicle in windy conditions, but this could be addressed using a lightweightfixed wing instead.
Practical implications:
Man-portable hybrid UGV/UAVs may be used by the military to perform reconnaissance and strike missions in urban environments, and by civilian teams toconduct search-and-rescue operations in hazardous terrain.
This research provides the first demonstration of a man-portable unmannedvehicle capable of both flight and ground locomotion, and it does so using a combat-tested UGV platform.
Mobile robotics, UGV, UAV, urban combat
Research paper 
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), such as the Predator, have demonstrated their abilityto aid warfighters in the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq – both for reconnaissance andsurveillance and for direct action against the enemy (i.e. Hellfire missiles). Unmanned groundvehicles (UGVs) have been successfully deployed for reconnaissance operations in bothAfghanistan and Iraq. UAVs and UGVs are key elements in the design of the Objective Force as part of the Future Combat Systems initiative.UAVs provide an operator with the ability to rapidly arrive at a site of interest,reconnoiter the area from above, and (in the case of the armed Predator) deliver a lethal payloadto any exposed target. However, UAVs lack the ability to observe or attack targets that areconcealed inside structures, such as caves or buildings. In contrast, UGVs have the capability toenter structures, search for targets, and examine these targets at close range (using videotransmission). However, UGVs are much slower than UAVs, have limited range, and have lesscapability to cross very rough terrain. In many situations, what is needed is an unmanned vehiclethat combines the strengths of UAVs and UGVs.Griffon is a man-portable UAV/UGV hybrid designed to perform reconnaissance,surveillance, and payload delivery. Griffon was funded by the U.S. Army Tank-automotive andArmaments Command (TACOM) Armaments Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) as a Phase I Small-Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project. Griffon is based onthe iRobot PackBot platform, a rugged, man-portable, all-weather, all-terrain robot platform thatis currently being used in military operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq. PackBot is availableas a commercial product from iRobot Corporation.Griffon adds an Air Mobility System (AMS) to the PackBot. This system includes a powered parafoil with a small, gasoline-powered motor mounted on the PackBot chassis. ThePackBot control system steers the parafoil and controls the speed of the motor. The entiresystem is designed to be transportable by a single soldier.Griffon also has commercial applications in civilian search and rescue in rough terrain.Griffon’s flight capability will enable it to fly over lakes, mountains, and other potentialobstacles to ground movement. When Griffon finds a victim, it will be able to land, deliver medical aid, and allow the victim to communicate with rescuers.Many of Griffon’s capabilities are already implemented on the PackBot, including real-time video and audio, teleoperated control, and autonomous ground navigation to GPSwaypoints. In Phase I of this project, our objective was to prove the Griffon concept using aradio-controlled (R/C) prototype. In May and June of 2003, we conducted flight tests of this proof-of-concept demonstrator using a COTS parafoil, engine, and R/C servo control system.The purpose of the R/C demonstrator was to:
Confirm that the selected AMS parafoil wing provides sufficient lift for desired flightcharacteristics with a PackBot payload.
Confirm that the selected AMS gasoline engine provides sufficient thrust for desired flightcharacteristics with a PackBot payload.
Confirm the flight stability of the integrated AMS and PackBot.
Evaluate AMS flight characteristics under R/C servo control.
 3In the final flight demonstration, we launched the Griffon prototype on three separateflights, with the final flight reaching altitudes of 150-200 feet and ending in a controlled landingand smooth transition to ground motion. These test flights validated the Griffon UAV/UGVconcept and laid the foundation for the development of a fully-operational Griffon prototype insubsequent work should funding become available.
Griffon is a UAV/UGV hybrid whose components include a PackBot UGV, a parafoil,and a gas-powered engine with a propeller. We selected the PackBot because of its capability asa highly-robust, all-weather, all-terrain, man-portable mobile robot (Yamauchi, 2004).PackBot was developed under the DARPA Tactical Mobile Robotics program (contractF04701-01-C-0018). PackBot is equipped with two main treads, used for locomotion, and twoarticulated flippers with treads that are used to climb over obstacles. PackBot can travel atsustained speeds of up to 4.5 mph, and burst speeds of up to 9 mph. On a full set of batteries,PackBot can drive at 4.5 mph continuously for 8 hours, for a total range of 36 miles. Standingstill, PackBot can run its computer and sensor package for 36 hours.PackBot is 27 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 7 inches tall, and weighs 40 pounds. Allof a PackBot’s electronics are enclosed in a compact, hardened enclosure. These electronicsinclude a 700 MHz mobile Pentium III with 256 MB SDRAM, a 300 MB compact flash memorystorage device, and a 2.4 GHz 802.11b radio Ethernet. Each PackBot can withstand a 400Gimpact, equivalent to being dropped from a second story window onto concrete. Each PackBotis also waterproof to 3 meters. Seven additional payload modules fit into the empty space above.Each module has power, Ethernet, serial, and USB connections to the PackBot for a fully flexible payload capacity.PackBot is designed to be a robust platform for all-weather, all-terrain mobility. PackBotis at home in both wilderness and urban environments, outdoors and indoors. In the wilderness,PackBot can drive through fields and woods, over rocks, sand, and gravel, and through water andmud. In the city, PackBot can drive on asphalt and concrete, climb over curbs, and climb up anddown stairs while carrying a payload. PackBot can also climb up, down, and across surfaces thatare inclined up to 60 degrees. In addition, PackBot can climb up and down inclines of up to 55degrees, and across inclines of 45 degrees, while carrying a 22.5 pound payload. Heavier  payloads can be carried over less steep terrain.PackBot is equipped with a sensor head that includes a color camera, a low-light black and white camera, a microphone, and a set of speakers. The sensor head provides real-timedigital video (320 x 240 color images at 30Hz) and audio (12-bit resolution at 16 KHz).Alternative cameras such as an Indigo Alpha or Omega FLIR (forward-looking infrared) cameraor a Sony FCB-EX780S zoom camera (25x optical zoom, 12x digital zoom, 300x combinedzoom) can also be mounted in the sensor head. PackBot has been tested extensively andsuccessfully at the Southwest Research Institute’s mobile robot “torture track” in San Antonio,Texas.PackBots are currently deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.Soldiers from the Army’s 82
and 101
Airborne Divisions and Special Operations havesuccessfully used PackBots to explore cave complexes and suspected al Qaeda compounds. ThePackBot operator control software has been integrated with the Exponent M7 wearablecomputer, allowing a soldier to control the robot using a portable joystick and a head-mounted

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