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Army to conduct trials of AI enabled unmanned all-terrain vehicles in Ladakh next month

Trials will also be held in deserts before the Army selects its final product and goes for large scale acquisition.

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New Delhi: The Indian Army will soon conduct trials of indigenously developed artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled, unmanned all-terrain vehicles in Ladakh for surveillance and logistics operations, ThePrint has learnt.

Trials will also be held in deserts in Rajasthan before the Army selects a final product and goes for large scale acquisition.

One of the vehicles under consideration has been developed by the Kalyani Group that runs on both batteries and motors. The vehicle was one of the 75 products that were on display at the defence ministry’s first AI symposium in Delhi Monday.

The vehicle can operate on battery for about six hours and on motor for 14 hours. It has an operational range of three kilometres and can carry a load of up to 500 kg. Additionally, day and night cameras, having a range of two kilometres, are mounted on the vehicle. This means one can see up to five kilometers from a command centre.

Sources in the defence and security establishment said the vehicle has already undergone two trials with the infantry and the armoured units. The infantry used the vehicle to carry logistics such as weapons and ammunition, while the armoured units used it as a reconnaissance vehicle to track enemy positions.

The wheeled variants, both 4×4 and 6×6, are fully designed and developed indigenously while a tracked version is being built along with a European company.

The vehicle has multiple sensors for mapping, path planning and obstacle detection, and can operate in temperatures ranging from -20 degree to +50 Degrees. It was also part of the Indo-Japan military exercise held in February this year.

The unmanned vehicle will also be deployed for explosive detection and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices (IED). Sources said this vehicle will go for high altitude trials in Ladakh next month and take part in desert trials later.

More vehicles under consideration

The sources also said there were more such vehicles under consideration, including one built by Torus Robotics. It has a payload capacity of 750 kg and has been developed with state-run BEML Limited.

Sources explained that the Army is looking at incorporating AI and unmanned systems extensively. Trishul, an AI-enabled and remotely-operated weapon station that can detect human movement, direct weapons and fire automatically, is also under consideration. It is capable of engaging targets at 300 metres with 100 per cent probability of first round hits.

Also read: India’s defence exports touch Rs 13,000 cr, private sector leads way with aerospace manufacturing


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