Users Seek Missions For Unmanned Ground Vehicles

By David Hambling London and David Eshel Tel Aviv, David Eshel
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

“The government violated acquisition regulations and continues to do so in an attempt to award to whomever they choose or like without regard to quality, cost or performance,” says Bob Ramos, MacroUSA CEO. The company has been successful in five challenges.

Israel is a leader in deploying UGVs as large as manned vehicles. G-Nius, a joint venture between IAI and Elbit Systems, continues to develop generations of Guardium, the first operational unmanned patrol vehicle, which is deployed along the Gaza border. Guardium's size is not driven by the need to protect occupants from attack, and the vehicle can park and operate at a vantage point for long periods.

G-Nius is working on the Guardium 3 (formerly called Nachshon), which employs a vehicle autonomy system that can be fitted to wheeled or tracked vehicles of various weights and sizes. The first platform for Guardium 3 is the Ford F350 truck, but the system can be adapted to any vehicle. In fact, the company has tested an unmanned M113 armored personnel carrier employing the same control system. Guardium 3 completed developmental testing and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) placed orders for the systems.

These vehicles will have a full mission system complement, including remotely controlled weapon mount. Guardium 3 offers expanded capabilities over the original unmanned patrol vehicle, including enhanced operation on the move and cross-terrain mobility.

The IDF is moving to formalize the UGV procurement process. G-Nius recently partnered with a U.S. company to manufacture Guardium in America, enabling the Israeli defense ministry to order the system with U.S. aid funds.

Ben-Gurion Airport continues to explore the integration of unmanned ground systems as part of its perimeter security. The robots would be operating in a sterile zone between the outer perimeter and the inner operational area, but bidders are required to meet stringent safety requirements formulated by the IDF's land forces technology branch, which oversees military robotics applications. Once selected, the airport plans to lease the robots from the operating company.

One system considered for this application is Amstaf 6, by Autonomous Robotics Industries, which has protected the perimeter of a town near Jerusalem. A follow-on experiment is planned at another site in the coming months.

Tap the icon in the digital edition of AW&ST for a look at some of the unconventional ways in which UGVs get around, or go to AviationWeek.com/ugv


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