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Military UGVs. Unmanned Ground Vehicles. By: Cory Christophillis. What is a UGV?.

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Military ugvs

Military UGVs

Unmanned Ground Vehicles

By: Cory Christophillis

What is a ugv
What is a UGV?

  • An unmanned ground vehicle is a military robot used to augment the soldiers capability. This type of robot is generally capable of operating outdoors and over a wide variety of terrain, functioning in place of humans.



  • Everyone knows that being a solider is a dangerous job and these men and women are asked to walk through minefields, deactivate explosives, clear out a hostile building etc…

  • What if we could send a robot to preform these tasks in the line of duty instead of risking the lives of soldiers?

Introduction cont
Introduction cont…

  • The U.S. military has been developing robotic systems for all sorts of jobs for years now.

  • Today’s military robots generally do not have very sophisticated artificial intelligence. Instead of independent AI , most military robots are remote-controlled by human operators.

  • However there are several autonomous and semi-autonmous UGV’s in use today.

  • The military does not use humanoid assault robots seen in Hollywood films.

  • They must use more practical robots of a variety of sizes.

Introduction cont1
Introduction cont…

  • The military does not usually use the term “robot” they simply call them either unmanned ground vehicles (UGV’s) or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s).

  • One more important thing to remember is that these military UGV’s are designed to help soldiers in the battlefield. For that reason, robot builders and designers try to develop “man-portable” designs.

  • A “man-portable” robot can be carried by a single solider, usually in a special backpack.

A brief history
A Brief History

  • The first UGV’s in combat can be traced back to the early parts of World War II. The Russian Teletanks are credited to be the first unmanned ground vehicles used for military use.

  • Teletanks were controlled by radio from a control tank at a distance of 500–1,500 meters. These tanks were equipped with machine guns, flame throws, smoke canisters etc…

Ugv s by weight class
UGV’s by Weight Class

Light31-400 lbs

Medium 401-2,500 lbs

Large 2,501 lbs and up

Small ugv s
Small UGV’s

  • The most common UGV’s are small, flat robots mounted on miniature tank treads.

  • These UGV’s are tough, able to tackle most terrain and usually have a variety of sensors built in, including audio and video surveillance and chemical detectors.

  • These robots are versatile, with different sensor or weapon packages available that mount to the main chassis.

  • Most small bots and man-portable.


  • TALON is a man-portable robot that weighs less than 100 lbs. It is operated with a joystick that has 7 speed settings and can use its treads to climb stairs, maneuver through rubble and even snow. All TALON’s are equipped with chemical, gas, temperature and radiation sensors. Also configured to operate with M240 or M249 machine guns or Barrett 50-cliber rifles.

source: Foster-Miller


  • The Packbot is another small robot that operates on treads, which is even lighter than the TALON, weighing in at 40 lbs.

  • Controlled by a Pentium processor, the Packbot’s chassis has a GPS system, an electronic compass and temperature sensors built in.

  • According to the manufacture iRobot the Packbot can move more than 8 mph, can be deployed in minutes and can withstand a 6-foot drop onto concrete – the equivalent of 400 g’s of force.

source: iRobot

Packbot cont

source: iRobot


  • MATILDA (Mesa Associates' Tactical Integrated Light-Force Deployment Assembly), made by Mesa Robotics

  • Is another example of a lightweight robot that weighs 61 lbs

source: Mesa Robotics

Maltilda cont

  • MATILDA has numerous possible configurations can be equipped with a mechanical arm or a variety of cameras and sensors, and it can even tow a small trailer.

  • MATILDA has a top speed of 3 feet (1 meter) per second and a single-charge run time of four to six hours. In the event of tread damage, the quick-change tracks can be swapped in about five minutes.

source: Mesa Robotics

Other mesa robotics designs
Other Mesa Robotics Designs

  • Mesa Robotics is also developing the lightweight MAUD robot and the low-cost MARV, a treaded robot designed to be expendable.



source: Mesa Robotics


  • Larger military robots are basically trucks or tanks with computers in them, operated by remote control.

  • Produced by Mesa Robotics and is about the size of a small bulldozer.

  • Main uses include: clearing out explosives with a mechanical arm, clearing and cutting obstacles down with a plow blade or a giant cutter, pulling disabled vehicles, hauling cargo and serving as a weapons platform.

  • This robot can also roll along with a mine-sweeper attached to the front, clearing a field of anti-personnel mines before any humans have to walk there.

Acer cont
ACER cont…

Source: Mesa Robotics

Arv and raas

  • Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV)

  • Robotic Armored Assault System (RAAS)

  • Both development by the U.S. military and are large-scale robots

  • ARV will weigh 5 to 6 tons capable of carrying up to 1 ton of payload.

  • RAAS may carry three weapon systems, including crew-served weapons, mortars and anti-armor munitions.

Video link
Video link

  • TALON video from Science Channel


  • What are the advantages with military UGV’s?

  • What are the disadvantages with military UGV’s?

  • What is a teleoperated UGV?

Answer 1
Answer 1:

  • Major Kenneth Rose of the US Army's Training and Doctrine Command outlined some of the advantages of robotic technology in warfare: "Machines don't get tired. They don't close their eyes. They don't hide under trees when it rains and they don't talk to their buddies ... A human's attention to detail on guard duty drops dramatically in the first 30 minutes ... Machines know no fear.“

  • The obvious is that they can do the dangerous, boring, and impossible jobs that a soldier can not accomplish or is deemed too risky.

Answer 2
Answer 2:

  • Hypothetical possibility that robots and computers could become self-sufficient and able to make their own decisions

  • Some robots have acquired various forms of semi-autonomy, including being able to find power sources on their own and being able to independently choose targets to attack with weapons.

  • They also noted that some computer viruses can evade elimination and have achieved "cockroach intelligence”.

Answer 3
Answer 3:

  • A teleoperated UGV is a vehicle that is controlled by a human operator at a remote location via a communications link.

Works cited
Works cited:





  • www.wikipedia/org/wiki/Unmanned_ground_vehicle