Bat­tle­field ro­bot­ics

The Witness - Wheels - - TRANSPORT - DAVID SZONDY

THE mod­ern bat­tle­field re­quires sol­diers who are able to adapt quickly to any mis­sion and as ro­bots join them, they’ll have to do the same.

At the Sin­ga­pore Air­show 2016 this week, Es­to­nian de­fence com­pany Mil­rem took the wraps off its robotic Tracked Hy­brid Mod­u­lar In­fantry Sys­tem ( THeMIS) — a compact bat­tlewagon billed as the “first- of- its- kind mod­u­lar hy­brid Un­manned Ground Ve­hi­cle ( UGV)” that acts as a multi- mis­sion ve­hi­cle plat­form to as­sist or re­place sol­diers on the bat­tle­field.

Ac­cord­ing to Mil­rem, the key to THeMIS is its mod­u­lar de­sign. In other words, it’s a bit like one of those toy build­ing kits where you swap out var­i­ous bits and pieces to cre­ate dif­fer­ent ma­chines. In the case of THeMIS, the ba­sic sys­tem con­sists of a pair of tracked pods sep­a­rated by a cen­tral plat­form.

Each pod has in­de­pen­dent elec­tron­ics as well as power packs that are ei­ther elec­tric or diesel driven. When they’re as­sem­bled they form a two- track re­mote con­trolled or au­ton­o­mous ro­bot weigh­ing in at 700 kg with the ca­pa­bil­ity of car­ry­ing the same in pay­load. Top speed is 50 km/ h and the THeMIS can run for eight hours on a full bat­tery charge and fuel tank.

Mil­rem says that this mod­u­lar ap­proach re­duces costs, al­lows new ver­sions of the UGV to be de­vel­oped quickly and sim­pli­fies main­te­nance.

In ad­di­tion, the plat­form al­lows the ve­hi­cle to carry a num­ber of mod­ules for dif­fer­ent mis­sions, such as com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­lay, medevac, train­ing, mine clear­ance, sup­ply trans­port, weapons plat­form for in­fantry and anti- tank op­er­a­tions, lift­ing, UAV base, or fire­fight­ing.

PHOTO: YOUTUBE

Like an old fash­ioned lug­gage trol­ley with tank tracks, the THeMIS can carry a load over most ar­eas.

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