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France experiments unmanned vehicles at its overseas operations. The French Army indicated that four ground drone mules had just arrived at Gao (Mali, west Africa) to be the subject of a first experiment of the French army with ground unmanned vehicles in outdoor operations.
The UGV model now tested by the GTD Bison is Robopex GACI, a robot offered by the SME GACI Rugged Systems, associated with the Israeli Roboteam. The UGV is capable of carrying a load of 750 kg for eight hours, at a speed of 8 km/h. The challenge is to see if such robot mules meet the needs of the Barkhane force in a theater as demanding as the Sahel, where the French military has been operating.
The fact that a mule robot is deployed in Gao is not unprecedented, however. The Estonian infantry detachment used the THeMis from Milrem Robotics there for several months and the feedback has been very positive, the UGV having traveled 1,200 km for more than 330 hours of operation, in very difficult conditions, according to armyrecognition.com.