2 minute readIsrael shows off robotic ‘mule’

IAI's REX

IAI's REX

Israel is displaying a wheeled robot that serves the purpose of a pack animal for the first time at the 2009 Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, in Seoul, Korea. The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is showing off REX, which is a small robotic platform designed to accompany ground forces on operations.

According to IAI, REX can carry up to 200 kilograms, catering for groups of 3-10 troops on operational and logistical missions for up to 72 hours without refueling, and acts as a robotic “beast of burden” for the modern soldier.

REX in simulated operation

REX in simulated operation

Experts at IAI says that REX has both military as well as civil applications and are optimistic about the demand for it. “The REX platform is unique in its state-of-the-art operational capabilities and its user-friendly interface, both of which are central to the platform’s superior performance,” explained Ofer Glazer, head of innovation at IAI. “The robotic vehicle follows the lead soldier from a given distance, utilizing technology developed and patented by IAI. Using simple commands, including ‘stop’, ‘fetch’, and ‘heel’, the lead soldier controls the robot without being distracted from the mission at hand. Controlling the robot in this way allows for intuitive interaction and rapid integration of the product on the field within a short time frame,” Glazer added.

IAI says the robot integrates various already existent robotic capabilities, ensuring a low target price, a short development period, and low-risk development. REX was developed by the business and technological innovation department of IAI. This is not the only such platform developed by them. One such joint project has resulted in the Guardium – a robotic patrol vehicle (produced by the company G-Nius); another example is the Taxibot, a semi-robotic aircraft towing system. IAI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the 2009 Paris Air Show to jointly develop Taxibot with Airbus, the largest aircraft company in Europe.

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