Meet Atlas – the New UGV for Harsh Terrain


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A new unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) unveiled recently is designed for use in defense, disaster relief, and rescue missions. The J8 Atlas Xtreme Terrain Robot (XTR) was developed by ARGO’s Space, Robotics and Defence Division, ARGO was awarded a $1m contract by the Defence Research and Development Canada for three J8 Atlas XTR platforms. The US Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) also received a number of vehicles, which are currently being evaluated.

The J8 Atlas XTR is an electric, eight-wheeled, amphibious, all-terrain mobile UGV. It is designed to operate in harmful and extreme environments, with an aim to protect the lives of soldiers. The modular design of the XTR allows for the integration of mission-specific payloads. According to, the large clear payload decks can be installed with high-definition optics, airborne particulate sensors, and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) heat-detection and night vision cameras to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The very low-noise operation further makes the platform ideal for reconnaissance missions.

The robot also integrates optical and infrared (IR) vision cameras, acoustic, motion and heat sensors, as well as light weapons or large-bore launchers for border patrol and perimeter security missions. The modular platform can also accommodate detachable rescue basket or stretcher, defibrillator, bandages and other first aid supplies in support of first responder operations.

The vehicle has a maximum towing capacity of 680kg. It is also delivered with an on-board charger and generator, according to customer-specific requirements.

The J8 robot is remotely controlled by a rugged hand-held controller using intuitive and user-friendly controls. The operator can navigate the UGV via remote tele-operation or line-of-sight radio frequency (RF).

The fully autonomous vehicle is also capable of detecting and avoiding obstacles during pre-defined missions in both GPS-enabled and denied environments.

The vehicle is equipped with an electric motor-driven propulsion system powered by rapid interchangeable lithium-ion battery packs.

The vehicle has a maximum speed exceeding 30km/h and a typical working speed of up to 10km/h.

The J8 XTR can safely traverse through difficult terrains in extreme weather conditions while carrying payloads of up to 600kg on land and 300kg on water. It has the capability to ascend, descend and negotiate up to 40° inclines. The vehicle can operate in extreme temperatures ranging between -20°C and 40°C.

The fully-amphibious capability of the vehicle allows it to float and swim across the surface of water under its own propulsion. The vehicle has a maximum speed of 5km/h in water.