Israel is preparing to deploy fully autonomous unmanned vehicles along the border with the Gaza Strip, according to a report published by Fox News. While currently unarmed, the Israeli military plans to add machine guns to the so-called Border Protector Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) by "the beginning of next year." An unnamed Israeli military official told the Fox: "This is the future—the border is a very dangerous place… Sending unmanned vehicles to do these patrols means that troops’ lives are not at risk." According to the report, the Israeli army has worked with defense giant Elbit Systems to convert Ford pick-up trucks into UGVs by adding "specialised remote driving technology," along with "four driving cameras and a 360-degree observation camera."
UGV testing reportedly began in July 2015 and the trucks "became operational" in February 2016. While each vehicle is currently "driven by an operator in a remote control room using a steering wheel, joystick and pedals," an army official told Fox News that "in the future, we will have the capability of fully autonomous driving." The machine-gun "will be operated from a control room." (MEM, Sept. 2)