DCD launches Testudo unmanned ground vehicle


DCD Protected Mobility is displaying its new Testudo unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2014 exhibition. It has been designed for civil and military mission, such as explosives disposal, reconnaissance, mine surveying and search and rescue.

The Testudo UGV was launched as part of an exclusive military marketing agreement between DCD Protected Mobility and CMTI Design and Consulting Engineers, which specialises in multi-disciplinary services packaged to meet individual project requirements, DCD said.

DCD Protected Mobility general manager Andrew Mears points out that the Testudo is designed for the military, and tested in the hard rock mines of South Africa. “Its unparalleled ruggedness and versatility ensures that it is capable of negating the harshest environments,” he explained.

CMTI CEO Danie Burger added that the Testudo can be equipped with a variety of work tools that can be customised to clients’ needs with minimal effort. He states: “Available in remote-controlled or autonomous options, the Testudo boasts exceptional cross-country capability, thanks to its four industrial-style excavator tracks.”
“These tracks, which are individually driven for exceptional flexibility in breaching obstacles as high as 400 mm, are driven by high torque motors to ensure a load carrying capacity of 150 kg and a top speed of more than 6 km/h. What’s more, the Testudo is powered by 60 Ah LiFeMgPO4 batteries, which can last for up to six hours on one single charge,” Mears said. The Testudo weighs 260 kg, is 410 mm in height and features a track width of 172 mm.

Mears added that the Testudo is designed according to a ‘plug-and-play’ philosophy. “All four flippers can be removed within minutes and replaced with a complete service exchange. In order to ensure a greater degree of simplicity, off-the-shelf components are available to a large extent,” he said.

Testudo is Latin for ‘tortoise’, and is also a name for a species of tortoises found in Africa, Asia, and Europe. In Ancient Roman warfare, Roman Legions made use of the Testudo formation – where men would align their shields to form a packed formation covered with shields on the front and top, thereby forming an almost impenetrable armoured shield similar to that of a tortoise’s shell.

In addition to the Testudo, DCD Protected Mobility officially launched its new medium sized utility truck (MUT), the Oribi, at AAD. The company also officially launched the first entirely autonomous Husky mine detection vehicle at the exhibition.