Robotics and Autonomous Systems

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Budget constraints dictate a pragmatic approach as far as autonomous combat robots are concerned. It considered the contributions of such autonomously navigated vehicles in rather limited, mission-specific tasks. These will initially include perimeter security and border patrols but could later be enhanced to specific roles in force protection. The Directorate of Defense Research & development (DDR&D) is the IMOD authority on advanced technologies R&D. The directorate defined unmanned systems and particularly, their security application of Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) as one of the focus areas for future developments, primarily in specific technologies such as navigation, obstacle handling, object investigation and communications. “Our vision is to keep the humans out of danger but within the loop” says DDR&D deputy director, Brig. Gen. (ret) Yakov Nagel, “With full capability to patrol, detect an incident and identify a threat, the robot will be able to alert the command post and engage the target with the most appropriate effect”. These technologies will not be limited to the security application alone, but could be used in various manned or unmanned platforms and systems.

Research and development is invested in the modernization and evolution of command and control systems, particularly those designed for the lower combat echelons. Such systems are providing better, more integrated environment, creating an up-to-the-minute situational picture, based on fresh intelligence and live imagery, enabling rapid target engagement. “The Israeli Battle Management Systems (BMS) are unique in their capability to integrate weapons and effectors empowering commanders at all levels with flexible means and effects” says Nagel. “This capability can be demonstrated throughout the combat level elements, from the tank to the individual soldier upward”. Many of the IDF’s C4ISR activities initiated from DDR&D programs, including the Digital Army Program (designated ‘Zayad’), theWeapon Integrated Battle Management System, and future software based combat net radio and the infantry combat suit.

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