The Indian Army now has in service its first robotic technology - a counter-IED device named the Daksh.
This six-wheeled RVO (Remotely-Operated Vehicle) will be used to locate and destroy hidden IEDs and other explosive devices, going in ahead of troops to minimise the potential for loss of life.
It features an X-ray scanner for location purposes, a roof-mounted gripper arm that picks up explosive devices and a high-pressure water jet for bomb diffusion purposes. There's also the option of an integrated shotgun, to force open locks.
The Daksh has the ability to travel on angled ground, ascend flights of stairs and even tow other vehicles. The Indian Army's ultimately getting 20 of these highly capable Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) and, right now, it's got an initial six examples.
Daksh Counter-IED Robot
The Daksh counter-IED robot's a product of DRDO - India's Defence Research and Development Organisation - and the Army handover occurred in grounds belonging to the organisation's Research and Development Establishment.
"The army started thinking of acquiring counter-IED equipment in the 1990s, following instances of indiscriminate use of IEDs by terrorists and anti-nationals", Indian Army representative Major General Bassi told the Times of India. "We had to acquire 45 such equipment from the UK, while the DRDO was asked to develop the ROVs. The indigenous content and support carrier vehicle provides a unique feature to Daksh"
Indian Army Daksh Robot
"We will hand over the remaining 14 units of the order in a year's time", DRDO's S Sundaresh added, at the Indian Army Daksh robot transfer event. "The ROVs will be deployed in the northern and eastern command areas of the army and, based on the latter's feedback, the DRDO will develop a further improvised variant called Daksh Mk-I."
Beyond the Indian Army's use, export orders for the Daksh counter-IED robot are also being sought and, possibly alongside these, international partnerships of some kind.
India's Defence Research and Development Organisation has been in operation since 1958.
Headquartered in New Delhi, it works in a huge variety of fields include aeronautics, missile and combat vehicle development and computer sciences.