The Development of Unmanned Vehicles – Where Are We At?

Introduction

Unmanned vehicles (UVs) might be the stuff of sci-fi to many, but they are increasingly becoming more commonplace. The development of such vehicles should be of interest to many, and it is fascinating to track just how far they have evolved in recent years.

Who is Working on the Development of Unmanned Vehicles?

The development of UVs is being pursued by a range of companies around the world, such as the Elbit systems Bristol location and beyond. While many of the companies who are developing these will no doubt be tied to many projects that advance military tech, we would not be surprised if some of the leading car and vehicle manufacturers are also involved in this development in some way.

There are advantages to both sides taking care of it. As with other types of military tech, there is the potential for UVs to eventually reach mass market. If they come from trusted vehicle manufacturers, there is more of a chance that the company will trust them compared to if they were to come from a military tech developer. However, this is a technology that is being developed for the military primarily. Functionality must come first, and this will not come from a company developing with the mass market in mind.

Why Use Unmanned Vehicles?

UVs have a variety of uses. For instance, Elbit Systems Bristol in partnership with Roboteam released ‘ROOK’, which is a multi-payload military UGV (unmanned ground vehicle). Improved manoeuvrability, more capacity, and better on-field agility are just a few of the perks of its built-in autonomy suite. Further, Elbit’s catalogue also includes tactical support UGVs like its PROBOT, as well as RC-car-sized reconnaissance systems like IRIS, used to scout through small areas soldiers and other support devices cannot.

In short, unmanned vehicles provide multiple benefits:

  • First and foremost is the military are putting less soldiers in dangerous positions, i.e. less drivers are needed for support vehicles.
  • Secondly, some UGVs can do what soldiers can not. The aforementioned IRIS will be able to acquire information in real-time in spaces that soldiers would have had to work harder and, potentially, less quietly, to get that same information.
AWE19 VIKING MUM-T Semi-Autonomous Recce-UGV with Artificial-Intelligence.

Is the Market Growing?

While we are still developing the capabilities of UVs, there is no denying that the market is growing each year. It is thought that North America is one of the biggest markets and this is not surprising. The US has one of the largest militaries in the world, and so they will look for any tech advantage that they can find.

Many other companies are beginning to turn to developing UVs too. As competition increases, there is every chance that we shall see the markets flourish and thrive.

Summary

UVs are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, and there are many advancements in the sector that could bring a lot of interest to these vehicles from all quarters. Those interested in the development of military technology should definitely keep an eye on what is happening here. UVs could be a major part of military assets in the future. The groundwork has been laid, we just need to wait and see how things move in the years to come.

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