The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is set to upgrade the Segev unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) it currently operates on the border with the Gaza Strip with a remote weapon station and an autonomous navigation capability, the commander of the Unmanned Surface Vehicle Company has told IHS Jane's .
Introduced in mid-2015, the Segev replaced the Guardium platform. Both UGVs were made by G-NIUS, an IAI-Elbit joint venture that was discontinued earlier this year. The Segev is now maintained by Elbit Systems.
The Guardium was introduced in 2008 and remained in service well beyond the original few months it was intended to serve as a technology testbed. During that time the IDF developed its operational and training doctrines for UGVs.
"We understood that the Guardium was not enough," Captain Avidav Goldstein, commander of Unmanned Surface Vehicle Company on the Gaza border, told IHS Jane's on 27 November.
Based on a Ford F-350 truck, the Segev is much larger than the original Guardium, which used the chassis from the Tomcar off-road utility vehicle.
Capt Goldstein said the Segev currently has two modes - manual and semi-automatic - with a third, fully automatic mode to be introduced in about two months time.
In manual mode the vehicle can be driven conventionally for maintenance purposes. In semi-automatic mode operators drive the vehicle remotely from a control station fitted with a steering wheel and pedals. The fully automatic mode will allow operators to mark a spot on a digital map, stipulate a speed, and deploy the vehicle.
Capt Goldstein said the vehicle will initially stop when it detects an obstacle and wait for instructions from an operator, but in the near future it will be able to recognise obstacles and circumvent them automatically.
"When Segev [can] navigate obstacles on its own, we will have full autonomy.
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