The GroundBot system by Swedish firm Rotundus is a remote-controlled, all-weather polycarbonate sphere that “can trundle through snow, mud and sand as it supplies a live feed via a pair of cameras,” Wired UK explains. “Its operator sees the image in 3D on a screen.”
It apparently comes with knobby treads or without.
The sphere is currently “undergoing trials” with the Swedish Defense Forces for use “in airports and other locations in need of surveillance,” but the system also has potential applications in urban mapping, remote terrain exploration, and even post-disaster search and rescue. While the GroundBot can only reach speeds a bit more than 6mph—which means it won’t be breaking any speed records, and it certainly won’t be hard to outrun—the idea that failed criminals of the future might be seen sprinting away from swarms of autonomous black spheres the size of car tires is quite extraordinary.
See the Rotundus site for more info.