IAI to develop unmanned vehicle for disaster zones

Yossi Weitz meets Croatian president Photo: IAI

Israel Aerospace will develop systems to be installed in a vehicle made by a Croatian company.

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) and Croatian company DOK-ING have signed a cooperation agreement for the development, manufacturing, and marketing of advanced robot systems for disaster areas. The motorized robots will be capable of operating in regions affected by radioactivity and nuclear fallout and in regions attacked with chemical and biological materials that are inaccessible to human beings.

The system that the two companies will develop through this new cooperation includes a special advanced vehicle that can travel freely in disaster areas. The Croatian company will make the vehicle, while IAI will develop the communications systems, command and control systems, and algorithms facilitating autonomous movement to be installed in the vehicle. The two companies plan to install in the new robot vehicle special sensors capable of detecting and identifying hazardous and poisonous materials according to a previously installed catalogue.

The agreement was signed during a visit to Croatia by Israel President Reuven Rivlin on which he was accompanied by outgoing IAI CEO Joseph Weiss. The Israeli delegation met with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

Weiss told "Globes, "Our leading technological capabilities in robotics and autonomy, combined with DOK-ING's engineering and technological capabilities, will pave the way to an technologically and operationally advanced solution that will perform necessary tasks in hazardous areas without endangering human life."

The cooperation agreement between IAI and the Croatian company is an attempt by the Israeli defense company to consolidate its activity in Croatia in preparation for future deals, after the Croatian government decided in March to buy 12 F-16s used by the Israel air force before recently being retired from service, among other things due to IDF cost cutting.

The planes sold were outmoded F-16As and F-16Bs that were upgraded before being sold to the Croatian air force. The value of the deal was previously estimated at $500 million including upgrading. The upgrading work on the planes will be split between IAI and Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT).

The deal was government-to-government (GTG), with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu taking part in it. He settled the details early this year with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in a meeting between the two leaders in Davos.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 26, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

Yossi Weitz meets Croatian president Photo: IAI
Yossi Weitz meets Croatian president Photo: IAI
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