The purpose of the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) â€žÂ¢ is to develop and demonstrate an autonomous robotic platform able to perform long-range, long-endurance missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling, which would otherwise preclude the ability of the robot to perform such missions. The system obtains its energy by foraging â€œ engaging in biologically-inspired, organism-like, energy-harvesting behavior which is the equivalent of eating. It can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil, and solar) when suitable. For example, about 150 lbs of vegetation could provide sufficient energy for 100 miles of driving, depending on circumstances.
The EATR â€žÂ¢ system consists of four main subsystems: (1) an autonomous intelligent control system and sensors; (2) a manipulator system consisting of a robotic arm and end effectors; (3) a hybrid engine system consisting of a biomass combustion chamber, an external combustion engine, and a multi-cell rechargeable battery; and (4) a platform system consisting of a robotically-modified conventional vehicle, such as a High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), or a robotic vehicle. The initial will be to focus on the ability of the EATR to recognize biomass sources of energy from non-energy materials, properly manipulate and ingest the biomass materials into the engine system, and generate electrical power to operate the various subsystems. This can lead to three potential phases viz., (1) the development of prototype and operational EATRâ€žÂ¢ systems for military and civil applications; (2) new civil and military applications for the 4D/RCS autonomous intelligent control system for robotic vehicles and ubiquitous intelligence; and (3) development of the external combustion engine system for civil and military automotive applications, whether for manned or unmanned vehicles.