Robot Soldier

Cool doesn’t even begin to describe this.

guardium.jpgIsrael’s newest soldier can see at night, never nods off on sentry duty and can carry 300 kilograms (660 pounds) without complaining.

The Guardium, an unmanned ground vehicle commissioned by the Israel Defense Forces is essentially a robotic soldier, among the first in the world to be operational. It can replace human soldiers in dangerous roles, cutting casualty rates.

Like the pilot-less drones that have become a mainstay of air forces in Israel, the U.S. and elsewhere, the four-wheeled Guardium is operated from a command room that can be far from the front line. It can be mounted with cameras, night-vision equipment and sensors, as well as more lethal tools like machine guns.

Following pre-programmed routes, it can navigate alone through cities – the vehicle knows how to deal with intersections, traffic and road markings. It can patrol borders, its cameras scanning 360 degrees at all times, and alert operators if it spots anything suspicious.

The Guardium never mentally wanders or falls asleep, as soldiers have been known to do during mind-numbing guard or patrol missions. And it doesn’t have a family that will miss it when it’s away on reserve duty.

“Representatives of armies with troops who are taking high casualties in asymmetric warfare, from threats like roadside bombs, get excited about this product,” said Erez Peled, director general of G-Nius Unmanned Ground Systems, the company that developed the robot.

The control panel includes two large screens and a joystick. If the operator wants to take control, he can do so from a steering wheel and gas and brake pedals that lend the console the look of a video arcade game.

“Any kid who grew up with a PlayStation will be able to come in here and learn this in seconds,” Peled said.

A vehicle alone costs approximately $600,000 (385,000 euros). With the operating system, the price runs to several million dollars, depending on what equipment is installed on the robot.

The Israeli military said the Guardium has yet to enter operational service, and would provide no further comment.

John Pike, director of the Virginia-based military think tank Globalsecurity.org, said there is only one other similar vehicle operational – a South Korean robot used to patrol the demilitarized zone with North Korea. With the details of the Korean vehicle classified, Pike could not say which was more advanced.

“Robots like this are potentially the future of ground warfare,” Pike said.

“A robot does what it’s told, and you’ll be able to get them to advance in ways it’s hard to get human soldiers to do. They don’t have fear, and they kill without compunction.”

“But more importantly,” he added, “A robot means you don’t have to write a condolence letter.”

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

comments

  • Carol Herman

    Fabulous post!

    Indeed, if such things are operational there’s not going to be much need to go into the terrorists lairs, to snag them. So, not just from overhead; where the Israelis excel. you also have drones. And, a keen understanding of how the mindset among terrorists, works.

    Here’s an American lesson: Once there were lots of indians. They were terrorists, too. They’d attack Whites, as soon as they saw they could overwhelm these folks. And, they did this to STEAL. Pure and simple. Less work if you can thieve your way to “more goods.” But there was a drawback. Back then? Winchester came up with a repeater rifle. Indians didn’t have this. And, their bows and arrows (though they were stealing the overhead wires from the railroad companies), just weren’t enough. And, they got done in. (Plus? The railroad companies were Capitalism’s finest. Didn’t set out to be warriors. But the indians really did get under their skins.

    Then? Well, by 1095 … as I’ve pointed out … the only buffalo you’d find was on the back of a nickel. (Even though committed to song, was a story of how the “buffalo roamed.”) Couldn’t compete with rifles. And, the entire herd was wiped out. How many animals, here? Animals. Not men. About 10-million. Killed at about a rate of 3-million a year. The indians went kaput. No buffalo. No food. No hides. No oil to light their teepees. Nothing left over for their religious ceremonies, either. (Now that’s what happens when you bypass the “usual” military setups. And, when terrorism provokes the kind of responses it needs; to put a STOP.) No punches pulled.

    Ahead? Well, Bush is still heading into the area. And, Hamas still only has the press working overtime. Can the gazans break out of their zoo? Or, separate from what you’re reading, can plans be developed that nip this crap in the bud? For the Israelis, there’s no talk. As to action, you’re left to wait … to see.

    Be nice if some of it can be done by remote control. Heck, hollywood may not make a movie … they’re so lame. But the gaming industry can bring you this, right to your own, and around the world, right to kids own computers. (That’s how dynamically, you can change things.)

    Heck, when I was young, Yiddish florished in America. And, the jokes were good. ALas, the language didn’t get passed along. Kids in the streets, unlike their parents at home, spoke English.

    Believe it or not, things change.

  • jusa

    Will the Palestinians get the prototype as a goodwill gesture, or only when it goes to mass production?