Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

IDF Readys to Debut New Driverless Jeeps

While Google is looking to implement self-driving cars, the IDF have already developed several throughout the years

By: Daniel Koren

Published: June 3rd, 2014 in Business » Israel

It seemed every news agency in the world was fascinated when Google unveiled its most recent self-driving car last week, which didn’t have neither a steering wheel or pedals.

But did you know that the Israeli army already has unmanned vehicles driving around?

In fact, as reported by the Times of Israel, the IDF have had their own fleet of driverless cars for at least the past five years. And this week, they’ve announced that their latest upgrade to the IDF driverless car will include Jeeps that can actually survey areas before sending in any actual soldiers, in order to relay any danger to them before it happens.

The Jeeps will also be able to safely transport weapons and equipment without putting any Israeli soldiers at risk.

The IDF have been using Israeli technology to develop the newest upgrade, and while it may be years before Google’s self-driving cars hit the roads, the Israeli Jeeps are already working full throttle to protect the State of Israel.

“Vehicles without drivers are nothing new for the Israeli military,” and IDF spokesperson told the Times of Israel. “They have been used extensively in small devices that enter buildings and large cars equipped with 360-degree cameras.”

One of the vehicles currently in use is the Guardium Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), which patrols areas like Gaza 24/7 as a preemptive measure. “The IDF’s ground forces plan to expand its use of these tools, as experts invent new vehicles based on creative and cutting-edge designs,” added the spokesman.

Three new brands of driverless vehicles will also be entering the IDF within the next few years, including a large armor patrol carrier (APC) called the Loyal Partner, which will be used “as a line of defense,” sates Major Lilor Trablisi, head of the IDF’s robot/technology division. “It will be able to move while identifying bombs and the source of gunfire, able to carry out missions without considerations of risks or manpower. It can remain in the field for long periods of time, carrying out missions precisely and providing a relative advantage to soldiers.”

Another vehicle is called the Carrier Robot, which is a small, lightweight vehicle designed to explore tunnels and buildings and gather intelligence for Israeli soldiers. It is designed with cameras, sensors, and a full system able of communicating and transmitting signals from underground.

According to Trablisi, it’s one of only a few systems in the world that can successfully do so.

The third new vehicle, the Border Protector, will replace the Guardium in patrolling the Gaza border. It will be able to transmit data and images back to IDF headquarters in order to relay information without putting soldiers’ lives at risk.

Needless to say, the Israeli technology developing these cars are certainly advanced, and could give Google a run for its money. The three new vehicles are expected to be deployed within the next two years.

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