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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Video: Israel's Guardium (Think Batmobile Minus Batman)

(Hat Tip: Gizmodo)

As any Israelis soldier knows, their is nothing "romantic" about patrolling a hostile border along the Israeli security fence. Especially when you have insurgents focused on causing you harm.

But instead of sending out soldiers to confront those who seek to trespass the security fence, Israel may end up sending a robotic rover courtesy of the Israel Aerospace Industries.

(Video: Animation coupled with real footage showing how The Guardium can help thwart potential terrorist attacks. Credit: Israel Aerospace Industries)

(Fox News) The Guardium, an unmanned ground vehicle commissioned by the Israeli military and shown to The Associated Press on Monday, 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 pilotless 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 costs around $600,000 for the vehicle alone--millions more if one includes ammunition and software to run this vehicle.

Even though its not battle tested yet, hopefully the Israeli's will be able to launch several dozen of these (note: with a group discount included) as it could not only save lives for Israeli Defense Forces patrolling the border, but also their enemies as it may prove to be a useful deterrent.

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