Israeli defense companies Elbit and Roboteam have released a video demonstrating the ability of their collaborative PROBOT Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) to operate without human intervention in order to follow it’s preprogramed instructions.
The PROBOT – which is in service with several militaries, including the French in Mali – has generally been controlled via video remote control by an operator. The new operating system developed by Elbit means that the PROBOT is capable of now following a preprogramed route, making decisions as it goes independently on how to traverse obstacles. It is also capable of being set to follow personnel, freeing them up from the need to control the vehicle.
The PROBOT is intended for both military and civilian usage. Capable of being fitted with wheels or tracks, it can carry a payload of 750 kg (1,650 lb) and has a maximum speed of 7.5 mph. Recently it underwent testing by the Italian military during the VARDIREX 2020 mountain rescue exercise to assess the systems utility in the role.
Though primarily intended for use as a logistics carrier and medical evacuation vehicle, the system is also capable of being fitted with a weapon station and more advanced observation sensors. This means that the PROBOT can act as an independent reconnaissance asset or allow infantry on foot in rough terrain access to support weapons and equipment that may otherwise be difficult to man pack.
The improved PROBOT is fitted with Elbits Torch-X payload, which features an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera system, GPS, and software package. It also allows the UGV to be integrated into an unmanned network of ground and aerial vehicles. The collaboration came after Elbit acquired a 15% stake in Roboteam last year.