TEL AVIV, Israel, June 3 (UPI) -- Israel's military says it will soon more unmanned ground vehicles to protect its troops and borders from terrorist threats.
"Major threats are evolving on Israel's borders every day," The Israel Defense Force said. "Hamas' underground network in Gaza trains daily to infiltrate Israel, as Hezbollah expands its arsenal of weapons on Israel's northern border. Meanwhile, terrorists in Judea and Samaria attempt to smuggle weapons through crossings and attack Israeli communities.
"The superiority of Israel's technology is its greatest deterrent against these threats. Among its finest tools are unmanned ground vehicles, which could redefine Israel's capabilities in the near future."
Among the technologies in the works for deployment are small, soldier-carried robots to scan tunnels and gather intelligence for troops. They will be able to map entire buildings and terrorist-used tunnels to give troops pre-entry knowledge as to the structure's layout.
"A robot doesn't deal with the same difficulties of lighting, gunfire or breathing (in tunnels)," said Maj. Lior Trablisi, the head of the IDF's robot and technology unit.
A next-generation variant of an unmanned ground vehicle called Loyal Partner will also come into play. Loyal Partner can maneuver like a Humvee or Armored patrol vehicle while carrying weapons and other equipment for deployed soldiers.
The IDF said the use of robotics along the country's southern border along Gaza is not new but from early next year a vehicle called the Border Protector will be added to the fleet. It will move along border areas with advanced camera systems to identify suspected terrorists and has the capability to be controlled from remote areas.
Each battalion of soldiers on border duty in the south will have one of the vehicles, the IDF said.