VIPeR – New Unmanned Ground Vehicle

New type of small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) has recently been introduced by the Israeli company Elbit. The portable, lightweight robot is designed to operate in an urban environment and is controlled by a single operator. Besides surveillance and reconnaissance missions the small unmanned vehicle can also carry a 9 mm mini-Uzi and even a grenade launcher.

VIPeR (Versatile, Intelligent, Portable Robot), the new UGV developed by Elbit, uses a patented wheel system (developed by Galileo Mobility) which allows the vehicle to climb over obstacles including stairs. The unique wheel can literally change shape to adapt to the environment. The VIPeR was developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and is expected to enter service after a period of extensive testing in urban warfare scenarios.

VIPeR is designed to limit the exposure of soldiers in urban combat and carry a range of sensors including a day/night camera, explosives sniffer, 4-foot robotic arm and a wide rage of weaponry such as 9 mm mini-Uzi with scope and pointer and a grenade launcher. The VIPeR has to be able to perform all its tasks while keeping a very low profile. Elbit was able to reduce the weigh of the robot to 25 lbs (11.4 kg) and its size to only 18"L x 18"W x 9"H (46 x 46 x 23 cm).

Several companies across the world are currently developing UGVs for military use. In 2006 TFOT covered the huge Crusher UGV under development at the Carnegie Mellon University. The Crusher can carry more than 8,000 lbs (3600 kg) of payload and armor and uses an electric motor embedded in each of the vehicle’s six wheels which are powered with a hybrid system that uses a turbo diesel generator to recharge its batteries.