IDF Poised to Enter Robotic Era


Dozens of robots have beeen ordered for IDF ground forces to be deployed in reconaissance and counter-terror operations, Ynet reported on Sunday.

Until now robots have been the special province of Special Forces units, but now soldiers in the wider IDF are being trained to use them in combat situations.

The robots are produced by the Israeli company ROBOTEAM, founded by Yosi Wolf and Elad Levy, two veterans of IDF Special Forces Units.

The MTGR, or “micro tactical ground robot,” moves on two treads and is powered by two electric motors. Lithium batteries provide enough power for the robot to be operated for over two hours; it also has a microphone and five cameras that can be used in both day and night. It also has two arms for picking up and carrying objects weighing up to 22 pounds.

The Israeli army personnel aren’t the only ones interested in MTGR. The U.S. Department of Defense has already submitted an order for 250 of them, a contract worth an estimated $25 million, to locate and handle explosives.

The robot will reduce the risks to soldiers by scouting the area ahead and letting the troops know what awaits them.

“It operates alongside fighters and is capable of moving with them in the field, recording images day and night, listening, and provides important reconnaissance abilities in urban warfare. This is not a cheap tool, as it costs tens of thousands of dollars, because of the advanced technology,” said Maj. Ehud, the head of the robotics department in the Technology Division.

“It is obvious that robots will have more jobs on the battlefield. However, operating robots on the ground is more complicated than say, an unmanned aircraft from afar, because on land there are more obstacles and uncertainties than there are in the sky. As such, it is important to emphasize that this is a robot, but one that is operated by a man. The robot does not make decisions alone, and everything it does is directed by its human operator.”

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