India's first-ever unmanned ground vehicle is ready for tests soon. The vehicle is being designed to ensure minimum loss of lives during a combat operation. Now, the Indian Army is gearing up for test 'SOORAN' country's first unmanned armoured vehicle next month in Chennai. Notably, 'SOORAN' grabbed eyeballs of high military officials during DefExpo 2020. Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat expressed his interest in Project SOORAN.

As per a report in the Financial Express, SOORAN is a multi-terrain vehicle which also loaded with artificial intelligence. The vehicle runs on petrol and has three modes of operations including remote-based, teleoperated from a mobile control station and an autonomous mode. It also comes with onboard long-range cameras, high-end processors, controllers, sensors, power backup, etc.

Arjun Mk 1A
Arjun Mk 1A TankCredit: Indian Army

Dennis Ebenezar, MD of a start-up Defence Master India Pvt Ltd, the company which will be manufacturing SOORAN said, "The unmanned vehicle weighing around 500 kgs can be operated either through a control room or through a mobile phone. It has a mounted gun turret, and this too can be controlled remotely."

Highlighting the cutting technology of SOORAN he further adds, "We have three ground and air combat systems are capable to conduct coordinated combat operation using Artificial Intelligence (AI) NIVATA, specially designed to take on terrorists hiding inside buildings. And besides 'SOORAN' which is Tele-operated Unmanned Combat Vehicle with Autonomous mode, there is 'Sky Emperor': Drone with a Gun. Remote controlled and Autonomous and 'Scout Flies' – a cluster of micro-drones used to destroy Specific targets using a small number of chemical explosives loaded in it."

Spy drone Unmanned aerial vehicle
Pakistan claims it shot down an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) from India, which was taking photographs in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. [Representational Image]Wikimedia Commons/GeeJo

What is an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV)

Notably, an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) is a vehicle that operates on the ground without putting in danger human lives as it controls the UGV from a remote location. One of the most important utility of a UGV is that it can be used for many applications where it may be inconvenient, dangerous, or impossible to have a human operator present.

Forces across the globe have already been using such vehicles for a while now only in the non-combat role including a radio transmitter, minesweeper, and surveillance etc. For instance, DRDO's Daksh, Lockheed Martin's Retiarius. But in order to adjust to the requirements of future warfare, militaries across the world are willing to give UGVs a combat role and SOORAN is among such projects.