JPL Snake-Like Robot Could Be Used for Tunnel Warfare

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) snake-like, self-propelled robot designed to scout extreme terrain unreachable by tracked or wheeled platforms could change the nature of tunnel warfare.

Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor (EELS) principal investigator Masahiro Ono recently said the military could find the EELS useful because “you never know what the environments are or what kind of mobility is optimal,” National Defense reported.

The robot can traverse water, sand, rock, and ice.

Once in service, the platform can be used to support surveillance and reconnaissance missions, especially in enclosed dynamic terrain.

The first EELS prototype awaits testing at the Pasadena Ice Rink
The first EELS prototype awaits testing at the Pasadena Ice Rink. Photo: JPL/JPL-CalTech


The EELS comprises multiple identical segments linked to create a mobile sidewinding snake.

It is driven by propulsion mechanisms and supported by communication links to deliver improved performance.

The technology was showcased during a conference in Maryland, where a video showed a concept animation of the EELS slinking through ice-laden tunnels and entering the ocean.

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