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“Stop, don’t touch the fence or you are dead in 5, 4, 3, 2 seconds” such an announcement from a loudspeaker on o funny looking vehicle on one of Israel’s borders is not an imaginary scene if the situation deteriorates.

The unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) currently operated by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) can see – identify – and kill today but that option is not used. But it might be used if the situation along the border with Syria and Lebanon gets more threatening.

The Guardium will be displayed at Israel’s unmanned vehicles salon event, AUS&R 2013, on November 26th 2013 at the YES Planet compound in Rishon Lezion.

The Guardium autonomous observation and target intercept system was developed by G-NIUS Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicles joint venture company established by Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems. The Guardium system employs autonomous unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) which can be operated from a command center, carry out routine patrols and quickly respond to evolving emergencies. The Guardium vehicles can suppress suspicious elements close to the perimeter, and hold them back until manned security forces arrive, or use various forceful means to eliminate the threat, if applicable.

The Guardium UGV uses the TomCar chassis. The vehicle is equipped with an automated tactical positioning system and can operate autonomously on and off road, at speeds up to 80 km/h. The vehicle can carry a payload of up to 300 kg, including light armor shield to protect vital systems. The UGV can carry a wide variety of sensors, including video and thermal cameras, with auto-target acquisition and capture, sensitive microphone, powerful loudspeakers and two way radio. The vehicle can also be equipped with lethal or less than lethal weapons which can be directed and operated from the Main Control Center (MCC). A fleet of Guardium vehicles can be used as sentries, controlled from the MCC, from where they are launched on routine patrols, ambushes or operating in response to events received from an early warning or perimeter defense system.

Following a successful evaluation in 2005 Guardium was selected by the Israel Defense Forces to operate as part of the border security operations. By May 2008 the IDF received the first batch of Guardium UGVs. A number of these autonomous vehicles are in operation and, at this stage, man is in the loop. Will it stay there? This depends on the situation.