Guardium, developed by G-NIUS, is an Israeli unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) used to combat and guard against invaders along Gaza's border. It started off as a joint program between Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Industries and is now being used by Israeli forces. It can be used in either tele-operated or autonomous mode. Both modes do not demand human interaction for the vehicle to work; thus, giving the operator full audio and visual of the vehicles surroundings at all times. Both modes of operation make it possible for the Israeli soldiers to fight off any attacker without actually having to risk their lives while protecting their homes. When working in groups the vehicles are able to work together and cooperate within the network. The more unmanned ground vehicles out patrolling the area the less human resources needed while also guaranteeing a highly efficient deterrence whenever it is around.
History of Unmanned Ground Vehicles
The unmanned ground vehicles began their first military applications in the nineteenth century when Nicolae Tesla built two remotely controlled boats, teleautomatons. Tesla had created the boats with an electric propulsion system and where designed for the purpose of being bought by the military in either the United States or Great Britain. These boats had a newly electromechanical radio receiver that would have been helpful for the military in combat. However, at this time the military was not interested in using new forms of technology to build their weapons. However, over the years Elmer E. Wickersham built a prototype of a land torpedo which was then modified and used as a tactic by the US military against their enemies in World World I. As time progressed so did the unmanned vehicles.
With more advanced technology the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded the first mobile robot, Shakey the robot, which was able to follow a set of instructions directed by its user. Shakey was able to analyze its given commands and work certain parts at a time without receiving any external help. This began the evolution of mobile robots and vehicles with some autonomy.
Guardium is equipped all around with sufficient amount of armor to protect itself in light fire attacks and against multiple enemies. The vehicle is 2.95 meters long, 1.8 meters wide and 2.2 meters high. It is considered to be a medium-sized combat vehicle, about the size of a Jeep J8; it weighs 1.4 tons and can go up to 80km/h for up to several days depending on the amount of usage. The vehicle is equipped with: infrared cameras, radars, high-sensitivity microphones, visible sensors, and hostile fire indicators. Its equipment was built for unpredicted attacks, but its main purpose is to keep surveillance. Since attacks can occur the vehicles contain both lethal and non-lethal weapons for its protection. It is quite easy to operate with its stationary, mobile, and portable operational versions. It can be remotely controlled by the mobile command station where the computers have built in maps that lead the guardium along the Gaza border. It can also be pre-programmed to drive itself along the routes given to it. With its powerful sensors it can detect and avoid unpredicted obstacles along with its infrared camera that helps spot any invaders in the dark. When it goes off road the cameras help it travel in any kind of terrain and weather.
Autonomous robots work with their surroundings and make their decisions based on it. The vehicle or robot can work for extended periods of time without having any human interaction. In this mode it can be set to a certain location or can be put on a ground path and it will cover its designated area until needed or for up to 103 consecutive hours. This mode is beneficial since it can sense abnormal circumstances and avoid them; it also keeps people and itself from harm.
The tele-operated mode lets the Israeli forces know the guardiums whereabouts at all times. The vehicle is controlled by the people monitoring its environment. It sends data to the command station letting them know its location, destination, and the view of its surroundings though its rotating camera. It is possible because of the wireless connection built inside the vehicle that transmits the data directly to the server in the command station.
The guardium is equipped with the newest and most advanced technology out in the market. It has more equipment than any other vehicle since it does not require a human driver. This lets it pack up to 1.2 tons of gear. With all this it has become the most effective and useful patrol vehicle in Israel. All of its technology was made to work and endure any weather and terrain.
The main camera is up on top which can rotate a full 360 degrees for full access to the terrain. The cameras can capture thermal images and they have the ability to take videos in certain situations. In cases when the guardium comes across an invader it will record the confrontation for government records and for future access. The cameras have built in auto-target so that it comes to focus when an enemy or object comes in range. They also have back up batteries to in cases where they need to run for 24 hours non-stop.
The microphone was carefully built to be extremely sensitive to be able to hear all surrounding sounds. It can pick up sounds that most humans would not be able to hear. It can even talk to people through its built in speaker and reply to them as if it were a human. The computer transmits possible responses to the vehicle so it can then reply to the person. The conversations are also recorded and sent to the command station.
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