spectrum of classical defense and security missions is being expanded
today, to include conflict prevention and crisis management tasks, and
fighting against international terrorism. As robotic technology
matures, military robotics applications are offering more
In its military and security applications, robotic systems are
offering an intelligent substitution of personnel, to carry out highly
dangerous and tedious operations. Unmanned systems can keep human
warfighters safer, by maintaining safe standoff distance from the
scene of operation.
Traditionally the area of field robotics has been strong in Europe
with a significant, but diverse portfolio of R&D efforts. It is,
however, characteristic that there has been little coordination across
the European countries. This results in a lack of joint strategic
partners such as unified security and defense programs, and lack of
European industrial players. It is thus essential to have strong
efforts to push these technologies across the European arena.
Facing this reorientation, and cost cuts in R&D activities, the
European Robotics Group
is organizing the “European Land-Robot Trial (ELROB)”
in order to provide an overview of the European state-of-the-art in
the field of UGVs with focus on short-term realizable robot systems.
ELROB is explicitly designed to assess current technology to solve
problems at hand. This event stimulates the development and promotion
of innovative technical approaches that benefit the entire community
of unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) developers.
So far limited efforts have been made on comparison of systems for
such applications. In many cases tests have been performed nationally,
if at all. ELROB is thus an important event in many respects. First of
all it is the first successful initiative to compare the technologies
across the major European actors. In addition it is an opportunity to
bring together users, researchers and industry to build a community.
It also provides benchmarking for identification of key problems to be
addressed as part of future R&D efforts.
ELROB is a field test of UGVs on realistic terrain in urban and non
urban environments. Entrants should be motivated to overcome the
obstacles to the realization of truly robust UGVs. The event
challenges the most capable and innovative companies, institutions,
and entrepreneurs from Europe to produce breakthroughs in capability
first ELROB competition, held in May 2006 in Hammelburg, Germany has
drawn widespread attention. 20 participants from five European
countries gave an impressive performance for over 600 spectators
coming from 19 countries all over the world. Representatives of
military, border patrol, Special Forces, police, fire brigades, and
civil protection agencies from the major European countries attended.
ELROB 06 was accompanied by a technical exhibition covering a wide
variety of robotics aspects. The event is professionally counseled by
the Research Establishment for Applied
Science and the NATO Research Task Group on “Military
Applications for Multi-Robot Systems (IST-058/RTG-024)”.
A UK participant summarized: “We are all committed to demonstrating at
ELROB cutting edge robotics technology, applied to real world
applications, which can save lives now and shape the direction of
research for the short and medium term. ELROB will enable Europe to
re-engage in the benefits robotics can deliver now and the future.”
Motivated through the great success and the positive feedback from
users, researchers and industry ELROB will carry on. Every even year
it will focus on military domains while the Civilian ELROB (C-ELROB)
every odd year will have its focus on the areas security and disaster