- Sand Flea
- 10 metre(s)
- United States ()
In 2012, US engineering and robotics design company Boston Dynamics released a video of "Sand Flea", a wheeled, GPS-guided, unmanned ground robot the size of a shoebox. Sand Flea could launch itself into the air by propping itself up at an angle and firing a piston into the ground. By doing this, it could achieve heights of 10 m (32 ft 9.7 in) – according to the Boston Dynamics website. The latter explains: “the robot uses its wheels as gyros to stay level during flight so the operator gets a clear view from the on-board camera and to ensure a smooth 4-wheel landing.” The hopping mechanism allows the robot to clear obstacles that humans – and bipedal robots the size of a human – cross with ease, but which were thus far insurmountable for ground robots. Sand Flea was developed using funding from the US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF), DARPA and Sandia National Laboratory.
A precursor to Sand Flea was "Precision Urban Hopper", presented in 2009 by Sandia National Laboratories, USA. This robot reportedly jumped to heights of 9 m (30 ft), although this happened while in motion. Development of Precision Urban Hopper was handed over from Sandia National Laboratories to Boston Dynamics in the same year.