Technology Transfer SSC Pacific
Robotic Radio Communication System









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A system and method for maintaining communications in urban environments by utilizing an automatic robot radio relay system

The U.S. Navy seeks to commercialize U.S. Patent Applications 11/832,065 (Wireless, self-contained relay device), and 11/832,103 (Relay device deployer systems).


Mobile robots are increasingly used for operations conducted in life-threatening and hazardous environments, such as in mining and explosive disposal applications.  Control and communication of current robot systems usually rely on line-of-sight communications. High-frequency digital and analog radios currently used are subject to limited battery power, signal range, and interference that is undesirable when used in urban environments and dangerous settings. To overcome these limitations, power amplifiers and larger antenna can be added for increased signal range; however, constrained real estate, increased battery power consumption, and robot mobility become issues.

The Technology

SSC Pacific has developed a method and system for using a robot and relay radio system to maintain the communications link between the user and the robot.  The system is platform independent, continuously monitors the network, and automatically deploys relay radios when the signal falls below a predetermined threshold. Each relay radio automatically positions itself upright and opens
to release the antenna. The radios form a network, and maintain a line of sight between each radio to complete the link between the user and the robot.

Key Benefits

  • System automatically deploys the relay radios, requiring minimal dependence on the user for initial setup
  • Allows users to choose when to deploy the relay radios if desired
  • System requires no external power, which increases its range of operation
  • While in sleep mode and not in use, system consumes extremely low levels of power, allowing it to last for months without recharging
  • System can travel longer distances and into areas previously unreachable
  • System is platform independent, and can work on a variety of robots
  • Up to six modules can be deployed with current system
  • Development Status

  • U.S. Patent Applications pending: 11/832,065, 11/832,103
  • Total R&D: $1.5M and 8 years
  • DoD 5000 Series Technology Readiness Level 6: System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
  • Operational test data results available
  • Second-generation system developed with increased functionality
  • For more information on technology transfer, please contact us at (619) 5535118 or email  
    SD 782, March 2008. SSC Pacific, San Diego, CA 921525001. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

    SSC Pacific
    Updated: 10/25/2011 10:54 AM EST   Published