October 20, 2009: IAI has unveiled today a compact unmanned ground robotic vehicle designed to support infantry units in combat. The platform, dubbed REX has a useful payload of 200 kg (450 lb), providing logistical sustainment for an infantry team or squad (3-10 soldiers) over a 72 hours mission. IAI expects the international market for such products will evolve over the next years, developing a demand for tens of thousands of units for military and civilian applications.
REX is designed with a level of sensing, situational awareness, and machine intelligence to apply a level of autonomy allowing the robot to follow a designated soldier at a constant distance. Each of the team members can control the robot without being distracted from the mission at hand. The key to this capability is the unique man-machine command interface patented by IAI. The REX control system is derived from dog training. The robot is trained to follow specific commands such as ‘stop!’, ‘fetch!’ and ‘heel!’ enabling the robot operator to stay focused on the mission while commanding the robot to perform the tasks within the level of autonomy it is assigned for. According to Ofer Glazer, head of innovation at IAI, “Controlling the robot in this way allows for intuitive interaction and rapid integration of the product on the field within a short time frame”.