When we talk of unmanned vehicles working in hostile zones around the world, it’s usually in reference to aerial drones that can monitor and even attack a target. But in Israel, they are using a land-based alternative in the form of the Guardian UGV autonomous off-road vehicle.Since 2008 the Israeli Ministry of Defense has been operating up to 10 of these autonomous units to patrol its borders. They look like armor plated jeeps, but are packed with tech allowing them to function independent of an operator.Typically a Guardian UGV, which looks to be based on the design of the Guardian MK 1, will be programmed to follow a set route continuously monitoring the surrounding area as it goes. If it spots something out of the ordinary it phones home and awaits further instructions. Alternatively, two guys with laptops can dial in and control the UGV directly. One has control of the vehicle movement while the other can position cameras and monitor an area using the built-in radar system.The UGV is manufactured by G-NIUS, which states it can be fitted with a “modular selection of payloads.” It doesn’t specifically state weaponry, but you only have to look at some of the company’s Avantguard autonomous vehicles to know they are probably an option. Typically it will be kitted out with several cameras, a radar system, and lasers for accurate positioning. G-NIUS also offers systems to help keep the UGV hidden and protected as it moves around, for example, electronic countermeasures and hostile fire indicator components.In terms of safety, the UGV is going to save lives in a hostile area. There are no soldiers on board, and it’s nimble and fast enough to leave an area quickly if attacked. If it gets blown up by an IED, then that’s an expensive repair for the MoD, but at least no lives were lost or soldiers badly injured. And if it’s under the control of a an operator remotely, it should also be possible to call in an aerial drone to attack a target tagged by the UGV, removing the need for any human presence whatsoever.If you want to see what the future of warfare is going to be like, this is a glimpse. Autonomous machines patrolling over land and in the air, capable of taking out a target with the press of a button.