Trying to design a cargo robot



I am new to Mongoose Traveller, but have been a Traveller fan since the 80s.

I have a concept, but I am struggling to figure out how to implement it.

The idea is a robot "tug" that would be used to load and unload shipping containers from a small freighter. I had envisioned a two part robot. The main body would grab on to one end of the shipping container. It would have all the propulsion. The other part of the robot would basically be a drone with lots of grav lift capacity. It would go on the other end of the shipping container and hook on allowing the whole container to float. Once the robots have picked up the shipping container, then the main part would provide the thrust to move it. They would then float it out and stack the containers at the starport. This would be useful in places where they didn't have a lot of cargo handlers.

I had two thoughts, first was to develop a robot with enough slots to carry a 8 dTon cargo container (4 dTon in the picture). However, that would be 2048 spaces (a size 12 robot) and equivalent to 6,144 kg in weight. The thing is, I don't need or want the robot to have all those slots, I just want it to have enough grav power to lift and move them.

I had also thought about designing the lifting element as a vehicle and then giving it a robot brain.

My key design challenge is I don't want it to take up a huge amount of room in a ship when not in use.

Can anyone suggest a way to accomplish this?

Thank you,

- Kerry


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It would only have to be that big if it was carrying the load internally.
Try a forklift option (p. 52, 60 slots for a 5dton container, - or call it the equivalent of 1 x 5 ton and 3 x 1 ton for 86 slots. You would still need a Size 8 robot (even removing the arms from a Size 7 would only leave you with only 64 +14, or 78 slots, which is a little less than what you need - so 8 dtons is a little awkward of a fit, but if it is an narrow as your picture, the robot would probably still fit in 1dton when stowed)
Hi Geir,

Awesome. That was the help I needed. I created a Size-7 TL-12 robot. It ended up costing 103,640 Cr. I rounded that off to 100 KCr.

I addressed the 8 dTon issue by adding a basic robotic controller and a drone interface. That way one robot can take control of a second one, and together, the two of them can lift up to 10 dTons.

I have attached the write up. I would welcome any critiques.

- Kerry


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Couple of things:
First, if you have Vacuum Environment Protection, then that includes the benefits of Hostile Environment Protection, so you don't need to buy both.

The other thing is a naming problem I wish I had done better. The Drone Controller allows an external operator to operate the robot as a drone - that would be the 'passive' one of the pair you're talking about, though I would think it would make sense to including it in all robots - it's cheap and gives people an override if the robot goes a little, um, Skynet on you.

But for the 'active' robot, if it is controlling the 'passive' machine, it needs the Basic Robotic Drone Controller (p. 44, which you mention in the text, but which I don't see in the Options), and for that to work, the 'active' robot also needs some level of Electronics (remote control) skill. Even skill level 0 in Electronics would work, but for that, you would either need to use a default Basic (none) brain - see the write-up on p. 71 where it explains how you can use it for installing one or with an upgrade two standard brain packages - or put in an Advanced Brain - making it much smarter, but at TL12, it's only Cr10000 and adds lots of potential capability. Or you could have two models, an active one with a good brain, and a cheaper passive one with the drone controller and Basic (service) - the passive one could work by itself, but couldn't control another.
Oh, and I just noticed, Speed=High implies a vehicle speed movement modification, which isn't really noted or necessary. By default its speed would be 6m.
Hi Geir,

Thanks for stepping me through this. I removed Hostile Environment Protection.

I had factored Basic Robotic Drone Controller in my calculations, but forgot to put it in the options. I upgraded to Advanced Brain, and added Electronics (Remote Op) 1, Mechanic 0. I didn't think a hulking cargo robot would need steward.

I figured all the robots would be built the same (for maximum flexibility). That all bumps the cost up to 108,840 Cr. I think mass production would probably keep that at 100 KCr.

I adjusted the speed down to 6m. That is plenty fast for a robot moving around big containers.

I like the idea that it only takes up about 1 dTon. I figured it would hang on the wall of the cargo hold, somewhere out of the way. I also like the idea of it turning sideways to slip through narrower spaces. I envisioned that the "legs" of the X can come closer together so it can pick up normal pallets in addition to containers. Having the "arms" of the X be real, fully articulated arms means that it can hold on to the sides of pallets as well.

Thank you for all the help.

- Kerry


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