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December 22, 2016 7:14 pm

Israeli Startup Promotes Three New Robots Meant to Help Soldiers on the Battlefield

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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Unmanned Israeli military vehicles. Photo: IDF Blog.

Unmanned Israeli military vehicles. Photo: IDF Blog.

An Israeli startup is promoting three new robots meant to aid soldiers in the field, Globes reported on Thursday.

One of the unmanned ground vehicles built by Roboteam — the MTGR — is a lightweight tactical robot “designed for patrol missions and intelligence gathering, and can deal with bombs as well as help protect soldiers fighting in an urban environment,” the report said.

The ultra-lightweight IRIS, meanwhile, can be thrown by hand nearly ten feet and serve as the “eyes and ears” of soldiers collecting intelligence in densely-populated areas, according to Globes.

The final robot detailed in the report — the PROBOT — can conduct reconnaissance and patrol missions and also transport loads of up to around 1,650 pounds. “This means soldiers need carry less equipment while the robot can carry the injured away from the dangers of the battlefield,” Globes said.

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The report said the MTGR and IRIS are already in use by the Israeli military — as well as numerous other militaries and security bodies around the globe — while the PROBOT will enter into IDF service in the near future.

In an interview with The Algemeiner in September, the head of the Robotics Division in the IDF Ground Forces said robots will not replace soldiers on future battlefields, but will make their missions more efficient and less risky.

“I don’t think there will ever be a robot war,” Lt. Col. Leon Altritz said. “There will always be soldiers on the ground, in one way or another.”

“Robots are just tools that enable soldiers to make wiser decisions and keep them out of danger,” Altritz explained. “A soldier operating a robot from the rear makes more level-headed choices than a soldier under fire on the front line.”

According to Altritz, the two main current jobs of robots in the IDF are bomb disposal and border protection.

“In general, robots serve us in all the dirty, monotonous and tough missions,” he said. “For example, during border patrols, soldiers get bored and sleepy, whereas a robot can operate around the clock and doesn’t get tired or distracted.”

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