Hanwha Defense works with KT to apply 5G technology to unmanned equipment

By Lim Chang-won Posted : October 30, 2020, 15:00 Updated : November 3, 2020, 08:01

[Courtesy of Hanwha Defense]

SEOUL -- Hanwha Defense, a major defense contractor in South Korea, will use KT's 5G technologies to bolster its position in supplying military equipment such as multi-purpose unmanned ground vehicles that can carry supplies, search fields for enemies and launch strikes. Hanwha has already developed a four-wheeled unmanned electric vehicle equipped with a K3 light machine-gun.

Under a memorandum of understanding with KT, a leading telecom company, Hanwha Defense will apply 5G remote self-driving communication technology to unmanned equipment. In military units operating robots, KT would establish 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) infrastructure. 5G equipment enables remote autonomous driving and operation as large-capacity images and data can be transmitted during urban operations and high-speed driving.

Hanwha Defense competes with its domestic rival, Hyundai Rotem, to supply military unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). Hanwha described its UGV as a weapon system to improve the viability and combat capability of infantry units by supporting the transport of high-load combat materials, saying that drones and a control system can be used for UGVs to remotely conduct search and reconnaissance missions.

Hanwha's four-wheeled UGV is equipped with an electro-optical infrared system featuring a day-light and uncooled thermal camera. With a payload of 160 kilograms, the vehicle can run at a maximum speed of 20 kilometers (12 miles) per hour and negotiate a maximum gradient climb of 60 percent and slide slope of 30 percent.

Hyundai Rotem, a key subsidiary of the Hyundai auto group, has invested in the development of unmanned military systems including "HR-Sherpa," a six-wheeled UGV that features an electric drive system, a 360-degree rotation function, a skid steering system and airless tires for rough driving.

HR-Sherpa, which is 2.4 meters long, can run at a maximum speed of 30 km per hour. A water-cooled battery system and an integrated heat management system enable long-distance driving and all-season weather operations. Along with firepower support, reconnaissance and the delivery of goods, it can implement remote-controlled functions. In November 2019, KT partnered with Hyundai Rotem to develop a control tower platform and a remote operation system for 5G-based UGVs.

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