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    Russian Robot Scorpio Can Climb Stairs And Blow Up Bombs

    The Scorpio Robot, an improved iteration of the Scarab uncrewed ground vehicle. SET-1
    The Syrian civil war is nearly a decade-long tragedy, a geopolitical mess, and a proving ground for Russian military technology. Among that technology is a new iteration of the scarab scout robot. Dubbed the “Scorpion,” this remote-controlled vehicle is designed to do everything from locate hidden explosives to climb stairs.

    Looking like something out of a particularly tame season of Battle Bots, the Scorpion is a four-wheeled, uncrewed ground vehicle with a pair of slaw-like appendages in the front and a pair of rods in the back, which help it climb stairs.

    The surveillance robot Scorpion is designed for outdoor and indoor surveillance of urban areas and industrial facilities. Scorpion is equipped with a chassis, face recognition system and autonomous navigation system.

    It also reportedly features a more secure communications channel than its Scarab predecessor.
    “The Scorpion is evidence that the MOD is incorporating Syrian lessons learned into its technology development - Scorpion's technological characteristics were no doubt based on feedback by the sapper crews that worked all over Syria,” says Samuel Bendett, Adviser to CNA Russia Program who specializes in Russian unmanned military systems.

    “That feedback involved the need for secure comms, something that the Russian crews probably encountered in unpredictable urban settings where a lot of Scarab and Sphera [two small Russian UGVs tested by Russian sappers in Syria] work was conducted.”

    Sending a robot to find and defeat bombs works better if the bomb-placers can’t spy on what the robot itself is doing, it turns out. Scorpio weighs about 44 pounds, can run for up to four hours on built-in battery power, and can operate as far as 9,800 feet from its human controller. It can carry and place a 55-pound demining charge. Two cameras enable it to transmit video to human operators.

    It’s also, minus the stair-climbing rods, only about 6 inches tall, making it hard to see at any distance.
    “The Scarab was just a 4-wheeled small vehicle with very low ground clearance and could mostly move laterally,” says Bendett, a CNAS Adjunct Senior Fellow who researches applications of Russian military unmanned system and AI. “Now the Russian sappers want a small UGV that can also climb over difficult obstacles or handle the stairs in buildings that have to be checked.”

    The robot is equipped with environment analysis instruments that allow it to work in industrial settings (i.e. gas analyzer). Scorpion supports various equipment that can help analyze and patrol hazardous environments.

    Clearing explosives inside buildings is a particularly harrowing task as fighting continues through sieges and drawn-out battles in urban settings. Much of the fighting in Syria, between the Russia-backed forces of Assad and various swaths of nonstate actors, has involved the use of explosives improvised or manufactured, and left to cause harm for whoever stumbles across them in the future. The war has already killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced millions.

    The Scorpion is, first and foremost, a tool to clear the path through explosive traps for Russians and Russian-aligned forces, though the design may have a second life in demining efforts should they be pursued in the future. It is also possible that Scorpio prototypes are already deployed in Syria. It was first tested in July 2019, and may have entered production before the pandemic altered everything, even the development of war robots.

    What Scorpion Can Do? 

    • Area control 
    • Environment analysis 
    • Collect information from metering equipment 
    • Remote information transfer via secure channels 
    • Autonomous movement across the location 
    • Location mapping via Lidar
    • Intruder restraining with a net gun 
    • Aerial surveillance via UAV 
    • Intruder chase via UAV in the areas unavailable for the robot
    Scope Application 
    • Restricted areas 
    • Industrial facilities 
    • Hazardous areas
    Technical Equipment 
    • Chassis 
    • Photo and video cameras 
    • Net gun “Nevod” 
    • UAV stored inside the robot 
    • Gas analyzer 
    • Lidar mapping system

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