The eRider, developed by Safran Electronics & Defense (ex-Sagem) carried out its first public demonstration in radiant sunshine at the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar (SOFINS) held from 28 to 30 March at the Souge military base near Bordeaux, western France.
Unveiled in June 2016 at Eurosatory in Paris, the eRider belongs to the Light Strike Vehicle class used by the armed forces for both logistical and operational missions. It is thus a multi-mission 4×4 piloted vehicle, with configurable autonomous functions.
In concrete terms, it can be driven in a conventional manner, transporting a combat group, or can be used as a partially or totally autonomous unmanned ground vehicle to carry out various intelligence missions, for example. A hybrid electric vehicle, it has an on-board generator set.
Extremely flexible, the eRider, which weighs 1,500 kg, has a maximum payload capacity of 500 kg, in other words four equipped soldiers. The vehicle has a range of 300km and a maximum speed of 70 kph thanks to a 20kW electric motor powered by a Lithium-ion battery of 72V (10kW).
Tracked by an airborne mini-drone, eRider has a “follow-me” mode enabling it to automatically follow the dismounted soldier. A capacity made possible thanks to a series of technological bricks developed by the automotive supplier Valeo in the framework of a partnership initiated four years ago with Safran. The vehicle has four cameras, each of which has a 190° view, and a laser detection system (LiDAR). The unmanned vehicle is also equipped with Safran’s MPS panoramic viewfinder. The navigation/ geolocation component is provided by an Epsilon land-based navigation station.
According to Safran, the eRider will be evaluated by the French DGA procurement agency before the end of this year.
Without further ado, here are some photos of the demonstration: