The TALON robot demonstrated three times the operational mission range and twice the energy density of its existing advanced battery systems.

The demonstration was conducted as a part of the OSDsponsored Next Generation Manufacturing Technologies Initiative (NGMTI), led by the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) in Charleston, South Carolina.

As part of the NGMTI program, funded through the Defense Logistics Agency and managed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, Protonex developed and integrated an advanced fuel cell power platform with battery hybridisation into the existing battery bay of the TALON robot. The hybrid fuel cell power system delivered around 200 watts of continuous power and also met all peak power demands of the TALON robot. Protonex combined the high power density of its advanced fuel cell systems with a high energy density chemical hydride fuel to significantly extend the duration and mission capabilities of the existing TALON UGV robotics platform. Based on performance data from Foster-Miller, the Protonex fuel cell platform allowed the TALON robot to increase its mission range from 15 km to 45 km. This extremely successful demonstration was the first integration of a hybrid fuel cell-battery platform into a Foster-Miller TALON robot.

This program initiative builds on related efforts by Protonex on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and further demonstrates the company’s ability to deliver extended mission times, thus enabling expanded mission capabilities for UGVs including persistent surveillance and border patrol.

Commenting on the news, Dr. Paul Osenar, chief technology officer for Protonex said: “The record mission time demonstrated through this program represents another important milestone for Protonex and further validates the range of vehicles into which our high performance power sources can effectively be integrated. Based on the success of this UGV program and our ongoing success with UAVs, Protonex expects more significant opportunities for our fuel cell platforms in small vehicles used in a variety of military and commercial applications.”