Maine Patent of the Month – July 2023

Howe & Howe Inc. have built a reputation for their robotic vehicles, building solutions that are better and stronger than anything else previously offered. Their lineup includes robotic vehicles designed for firefighting and combat in nearly any battlefield. With these operational locations, remote control is paramount to keeping operators at a safe distance. Recently, the company has been granted a patent for their methods of remotely monitoring robotic vehicles.

Traditionally, remote robotic vehicles were controlled using dedicated communication channels, limiting operators to a single vehicle per controller. Swapping controllers or upgrading control features was a cumbersome process. Howe & Howe saw the need for a more efficient and versatile solution, leading to the development of their groundbreaking controller device.

The new controller device leverages a wireless mesh network, allowing it to connect to multiple remote robotic vehicles simultaneously. Operators can selectively control a specific vehicle from the network, opening up possibilities for efficient multi-vehicle operations. This breakthrough eliminates the need for dedicated control channels, simplifying the overall setup and reducing complexity.

One of the standout features of the controller device is its ability to display live video streams from the remote robotic vehicles on its video screen. This high-bandwidth capability ensures that operators have real-time visual feedback, enhancing situational awareness and improving decision-making. The video streams are received from the robotic vehicles via the wireless mesh network, eliminating the need for separate communication channels for video transmission.

Flexibility and upgradability are key aspects of Howe & Howe’s controller device. The software running on the device is designed to be easily upgraded and configured, enabling operators to adapt to evolving needs and incorporate new control features effortlessly. This dynamic software approach ensures that the device remains versatile and future-proof.

In addition to its advanced functionality, the controller device’s physical design is equally impressive. Housed in a compact chassis, it resembles a small tablet or computer. It features a touchscreen video screen, intuitive graphical user interfaces, and graphical control elements overlaid on the video stream. Furthermore, the device incorporates two battery slots, allowing operators to swap out depleted batteries while the vehicle remains in operation. This feature guarantees high availability and minimizes downtime.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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