As the Israeli military sees it, many missions in the very near future will be performed by joint forces of "robots" in the air, on the ground and at sea.
Following the development trends of the Israeli unmanned combat systems leaves no doubt. The battlefield, and before that routine security operations, will be put in the "hands" of those sophisticated machines, some with artificial intelligence as a built in feature.
To allow that vision of "robots" working together to come true, the future Israeli developed unmanned air systems (UAS) are designed with a capability to operate in conjunction with fully autonomous ground and sea systems.
The Israeli defense forces (IDF) wants different types of unmanned system to be interconnected in order to jointly perform combat missions.
This requirement is a step towards the deployment of fully autonomous ground based unmanned systems that will be capable to "talk" with UAS .
The advanced Israeli made UAS are already fully autonomous. The effort is currently to enable unmanned ground systems (UGS) to have the same capability.
Gnius, a joint company of Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is working to achieve that goal. Brig gen (ret) Yoav Hirsh, the company's chief executive, says that some of Gnius's fully autonomous ground systems will become operational before the end of the year. "These systems will have to be designed to talk with unmanned air systems and with sea unmanned systems. We understand the operational requirement and make an effort to answer it," he says.
The company's "Guardium" UGV is already being tested with systems that will be able to "talk" with similar systems in the air and at sea.
The technology division of the IDF is also working on giving autonomous capabilities to some currently used systems. One of these is the M-113 armored personnel carrier (APC). According to Capt Nir Navi from the robotics unit of the division, this will be achieved by replacing the driver with a "black box" and an electric-mechanical system.
This effort is made with the support of experts from Gnuis. "We will have a prototype at the end of next year," Navi says.