Leica and Milrem's Drone Tanks Return to Spotlight at Eurosatory in Paris

It's like a Google Street View car and a tank had a baby. 


Technological development, for better or worse, often comes from the military. Human beings have gotten very good at developing new ways to fight one another, only later realizing that some of their inventions can be put to better use in other areas of society and industry.

The same goes for Milrem’s unmanned ground vehicle, the autonomous product of two tank treads and a whole lot of drone technology. We got a fresh look at the Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System, or THeMIS, at the Eurosatory Defense and Security International Exhibition today in Paris. Eurosatory is one of the largest defense and security product demonstrations in Europe, where contractors and corporations come to show their new weapons, robots, and technology to prospective buyers.

The THeMIS was designed to assist soldiers in a variety of roles in difficult environments — a sort of a robotic pack-mule that can carry loads, defuse bombs, or even tote a machine gun and patrol dangerous areas. But the Milrem UGV’s true value was in its versatility. It was designed as a fully-modular system, which basically means you can stick anything on the platform between two tank treads.

Leica Geosystems has a super-sensitive all-seeing camera tower which fits perfectly, turning the THeMIS into the military equivalent of a Google Street View car that can trundle around battlefields, borders, or just rough terrain, scanning for threats, mapping the land, and taking pictures. The company says the Leica-Milrem collaboration gives civilian contractors another option for surveying dangerous terrain like riverbanks and dams, as well as offering other surveillance options to military and defense organizations.

Check it out in action here (best watched on mute unless you like stock elevator-music tunes, they’re a defense company, not Pitchfork, after all).

We also got another look at the THeMIS’s most lethal variant, the Singaporean-collaboration ADDER variant (the one with the gun) at Eurosatory.