Note: These features require that ATOS/E be installed in order for them to function. See this article for more information.
One of the principal ways in which robotics technology is useful is that it enables the performance of difficult or dangerous tasks without risk to human life. A civilian unit that frequently encounters such circumstances can be outfitted with the Sentinel Security Enhancements module, available through installation of the Advanced Tactical Operating System Elements (ATOS/E) add-on for Companion. This provides drivers for a number of built-in sensor and effector devices that are part of the controller's body, allowing dynamic fan control, temperature monitoring, hardware integrity monitoring, recharging of ammunition capacitors for energy weapons, and more. This section will describe the details of the functionalities enabled by the Sentinel module.
The primary interface for configuring ATOS/E is the sentinel command, which, without any additional parameters, reports the module's status.
When Sentinel is installed and functioning correctly, an additional partition becomes visible on the HUD. (A reboot is required immediately after installation.) The top bar on this section indicates the system's core operating temperature, whereas the bottom bar indicates system integrity (see below.)
In general, the base temperature of the unit is 5° C (41° F) hotter than the surrounding environment, plus the heat cost of the current power load. Added to this is the heat load, which contributes P0.8 degrees Celsius to the system's temperature, where P is the current power draw in watts. (Prior to ATOS/E 12.0.8, this was 2 × P0.8.) If the system temperature surpasses 100° C (212° F), then overheating will occur (see below), causing loss of system integrity in the form of damaged power conduit insulation. Like other forms of damage, this can be remedied using nanite-based repair technologies.
To combat temperature rises, the unit's active cooler is engaged. This uses up to 100 W of additional power. At full power, cooling can remove up to 75% of the current surplus heat (measured in ° C above the system's base temperature) two times per second, with an additional 20% of surplus heat radiated per second passively, regardless of fan speed. The effectiveness of this heat transfer is doubled in a liquid medium, allowing the unit to remain cooled indefinitely.
If the local region has a Nanite Systems Meteorological Station or compatible weather reporting service, then the unit will automatically calibrate its temperature floor to match the environment, causing the cooler to work more effectively. Meteorological Stations detect the location of a unit based on its unique signature, and transmit this information accurately using state-of-the-art climate models, regardless of the unit's altitude, even if the unit is deep underwater.
When the unit's temperature exceeds 80° C (176° F), an alarm will sound warning the operator that the system is dangerously close to its maximum operating threshold. Beyond 100° C (212° F), damage will occur, measured at 1% integrity for every excess Kelvin of heat absorbed across the whole unit. As this damage directly affects the unit's power conduits, the chassis integrity multiplier will have no effect on damage taken. The alarm will shut off once the temperature falls back below 80° C.
To prevent further damage, a unit cannot boot if its core temperature is over 100° C. While the unit is powered down, heat dissipates at 6.25% of the above-environmental temperature per second, or 12.5% when submerged in liquid.
Each unit has a reserve of cryolubricant. This is normally kept in a closed loop, but may be expended under certain circumstances such as sexual arousal. If the unit's coolant reserves get dangerously low, then "LOW COOLANT" will appear on the HUD under ATOS/E 12.0.9 and later, and must be refilled as soon as possible. Loss of coolant can result in overheating, although the effect is not as pronounced on models that include a fan.
For both fan-cooled and fanless units, low air pressure affects the efficiency with which the unit is able to remove heat. In a complete vacuum, a unit may overheat in less than a minute. Extreme pressure (over 1000 kPa or about 10 atm) can cause damage to the unit, including deep-water diving.
Other than harm brought on by heat and pressure, integrity loss can occur as a result of explosions and high-speed impacts. Collisions above 20 m/s will deal 0.25% of system integrity per unit of relative velocity, e.g. a 30 m/s collision will result in a loss of 7.5% of integrity. The current system integrity is indicated with the lower bar on the HUD in the Sentinel section, and is indicated in numeric form, marked with the ⧓ symbol, when below 100%. The damage caused by explosions, energy weapons, etc. varies with the intensity of the blast.
Unlike heat damage, integrity losses caused by external sources are subject to the unit's durability, which is optionally determined by settings in the unit's chassis controller module. The most common chassis controller is the Opaque Computing EXB-8505. The durability line in the chassis configuration file sets this as a percentage of standard, ranging from 25 to 400. Values outside this range are forbidden and will result in an unbootable system.
There are three distinct methods of repairing a unit that has incurred integrity loss, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. The most efficient is maintenance via a repair station, sold by the Battlefield Systems Division under the product name "ARC," for Asset Recovery Center. ARC stations have the additional benefit of being able to also recharge the unit. If access to an ARC is impractical, a hand-held repair tool can be used instead; note that these must be recharged like an energy weapon, and can overheat.
After 20 seconds of taking no damage, most units will begin to effect automatic nanolathe repair using the system's master blueprints. This behavior can be controlled manually with the sentinel repair <on|off> command. Self-repair restores 2% system integrity every 5 seconds, and requires 1 kW to function.
Whenever the system's integrity is diminished, whether due to heat or external factors, a secondary parameter, called maximum integrity also declines. On the HUD, this is indicated next to the ⧓ symbol by the number after the slash. For most systems, maximum integrity declines at roughly 10% of the rate at which damage is taken. Self-repair is not perfectly effectual, and can only restore the system up to its maximum integrity. Maximum integrity cannot decline below 10%.
If the system reaches 0% integrity, it is no longer functional, and will power down. This does not mean it is electronically inactive; in all but the most severe situations, a secondary self-repair nanolathe, called the resurrection nanolathe, will activate after 40 seconds to begin restoring the system to a bare minimum of functioning, at 10% of maximum integrity. This process costs 1404 kJ and is considered maximum priority, potentially resulting in a system that remains unbootable due to the depletion of its battery.
All incoming damage has a minute chance to cause a malfunction, such as a cortex malfunction or a transceiver malfunction. Depending on the error code, these may resolve automatically in the course of typical repair, or require the intervention of a skilled technician operating a maintenance station, such as the VectorLogix Diagnostics Bed. Malfunctions are more likely to occur at low integrity and when receiving large amounts of damage quickly.
Active defense systems
ATOS/E-equipped units are useful for more than simple target practice; they can also recognize compatible energy weapons and better integrate with shield generator addons, such as the MESH-2100.
Without the Sentinel module, Companion-based units are unable to recognize most energy weapons and hence cannot replenish the ammunition capacitor inside the weapon from their own power sources, even if they are able to discharge or reload them through other means. Sentinel enables this, along with HUD-based tracking of ammunition and temperature levels for the weapon.
When shield automation is enabled (with sentinel autoshield on), the unit will automatically deploy a brief energy barrier in response to incoming damage. This barrier has a lower total charge than the manually-triggered barrier obtained by accessing the shield device directly, and evaporates after a short period. Automatic shielding is ideal for protecting against machine gun fire and other small but repeated threats.
Identification friend or foe (IFF)
The IFF system allows all ATOS units to detect each other. For technical details, see the section on combat protocols at develop.ns.
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Interference from electromagnetic radiation
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