Hanwha Defense recently unveiled its efforts upgrading the company’s Multi-Purpose Unmanned Ground Vehicle (MPUGV) which is scheduled to be evaluated by the Republic of Korea Army later in 2021.
Their focus is on enhancing its autonomous capabilities through the integration of artificial intelligence to perform routine mission functions. The objective of the project is to develop a robotic system capable of transporting ammunition and essential supplies, to conduct forward ground reconnaissance, and for evacuating casualties on the battlefield. The intent is to free soldiers from the need for conducting these tasks which would take them out of combat action.
The test prototype is to be ready by July with testing by the Army to occur in the second half of 2021.
The design is a six-wheeled platform with self-contained power. It is to be able to operate without a human in-the-loop including autonomous navigation. An automatic “return home” function is incorporated should the communications link be lost. This model offers increased speed, load carrying capacity, and range on a single battery charge over its previous Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV).
In its March 31 statement Hanwha shared that the new design had more than doubled its payload in its rear cargo area. Its road speed has been increased to 40 km per hour and on unpaved roads to 20 kmph. The unit now has a remote driving capability to a distance of 1.5 km or more using a 5G communications link. It is provided with a fully stabilized remote controlled weapon station which can mount 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine gun. Observation and target acquisition and aiming are accomplished by day/night electro-optic cameras.
Hanwha suggests these developments will not only enhance the capabilities of its UGV but also its attraction to both other militaries and potential commercial users.