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21 Nov 13. The first Iveco Trakker Hi-Land 8×8 was handed over from Iveco Defence Vehicles Benelux to the fire brigades of the Dutch army’s infantry (ISK) and artillery (ASK) firing ranges. The hand-over ceremony was held at the NIDV Symposium in Rotterdam and was attended by military representatives and industrial partners. Intended to replace aging equipment, this contract was awarded in 2012 and comprises the supply of two Iveco Trakker Hi-Land 410T45W in 8×8 axle-configuration. The contract also includes superstructure and vehicle engineering services, project management and maintenance contracting supported by Iveco DV Benelux’s commercial premises. Each of the two Trakker Hi-Lands is equipped with a loading crane incorporating a winch, a 17 ton capacity container handling system and a newly designed 6m long open multipurpose container. All vehicles are fully EEV emission compliant, featuring economical and environmentally friendly FPT Industrial Cursor engines coupled with automated EuroTronic transmissions. The innovative use of this technology enables the fleet to be one of the most environmentally friendly in Europe. At the ceremony, the vehicles were exhibited in a static display. They had already undergone demanding dynamic tests performed by the users, demonstrating their outstanding performance over demanding terrain.

26 Nov 13. Polaris® Industries Inc. announced that Polaris RANGER® XP 900 EPS vehicles will be used as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge to be held December 20-21, 2013, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, in Homestead, Fla. In the early stages of a number of recent disasters, it was clear there were limitations to what mitigation steps humans could take due to dangerous conditions. The DARPA Robotics Challenge was created to spur development of advanced robots that can help humans to better respond to future disasters. The Challenge includes eight tasks that simulate the duties a robot might have to perform in such a situation. DARPA will use the RANGER XP 900 EPS in one of the eight tasks to help demonstrate robots’ ability to operate vehicles, since they are among the tools commonly on hand in disaster zones. The Polaris RANGER XP 900 is the best-selling vehicle in its class and widely available across the U.S. (Source: Yahoo!/BUSINESS WIRE)

25 Nov 13. Military demand for unmanned ground vehicles will likely decrease in the short term, due to fiscal and military realities, but as UGV capabilities expand during the next decade, so will their use, according to a report released last week by London-based business information provider Visiongain. The report, “Military Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) Market 2013-2023,” predicts that reduced exposure of troops to IEDs and fiscal pressures across North America and Western Europe will lead to a near-term contraction of the market. To date, the most common use of UGVs has been explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) work; however, Visiongain notes that the capabilities of UGVs are expected to grow dramatically during the timeframe covered by the report. The group says this will lead to greater utility and — ultimately — generate greater demand. The anticipated advancements may help address the criticism that UGVs are less capable than their airborne counterparts. The New York Times recently published a piece titled “Military Lags in Push for Robotic Ground Vehicles” that made the case that civilian projects such as Google’s self-driving car have started to eclipse military ground vehicle capabilities. Certainly, spending on ground systems doesn’t compare to that of unmanned aircraft systems. Visiongain says global spending on military UGV will be $579.4m in 2013, whereas more than $11bn will be spent globally on UAS for defense in 2013, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle

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