Create a robot for the army. Previously, this phrase seemed fantastic. But the modern reality is that right today the armed forces of various countries of the world are using devices with artificial intelligence . If this trend continues, in the future, we will no longer be protected by soldiers, but by machines. In this article, we will talk about robots that “serve” in the army today, and about those that may appear there in the near future.
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- Kamikaze drone LANIUS
- Robotic tank M-RCV
- Unmanned ground vehicle WILDER
- NINOX unmanned aerial vehicle
- Autonomous BLACK HAWK helicopters
- RACER and SQUAD X EXPEREMENTATION programs from DARPA
- PROJECT MAVEN
- Visual Augmentation System
- Anti-interference technology
- US Army Vision 2030
- Pros of using robots on the battlefield
Kamikaze drone LANIUS
Recently, the Israeli company for the development and modernization of various types of weapons, ELBIT SYSTEMS, presented the AI-controlled loitering drone LANIUS . The allowable takeoff weight of the drone is 1250 grams . The payload is 150 grams . It arrives at its destination on the mother’s drone , as it can operate for only 7 minutes on its own charge .
The agile and fast drone is equipped with a variety of cameras , sensors and the NVIDIA Jetson AI system . This allows it to quickly interpret data streams with minimal power consumption . The robot comes with ELBIT Legion-X drone software, allowing LANIUS to complete missions in teams .
The drone is designed for reconnaissance , mapping and marking open and closed doors and windows. But the most interesting thing is that the drone can detect people and determine which ones are dangerous and which ones are not. If LANIUS perceives a person as dangerous , he prepares to destroy him, but does not make a decision himself. So far, the drone is “asking” permission for liquidation from the operator .
Robotic tank M-RCV
In 2023 , the Israeli Ministry of Defense plans to begin testing the M-RCV drone tank. The tank was developed by the company ELBIT SYSTEMS , which we mentioned above. The M-RCV is equipped with a 30mm gun mount on a self-contained turret, Iron Fist active defense systems , gun control and drone flight control systems, which are included.
The machine has a huge number of different sensors that analyze the environment . The robot tank can operate even in the harshest weather conditions autonomously and integrate with other military systems .
Unmanned ground vehicle WILDER
The Middle East company Plasan Sasa Ltd also managed to develop a robot for the army. It is a ground vehicle for military purposes . WILDER is an ultra-light enclosed machine with an eight-speed gearbox and a unique suspension system .
The drone can carry 4 passengers and 800 kg of cargo . On rough terrain it behaves similarly to a racing buggy . But the main feature of the car is electronic control , which allows soldiers to leave the car and control it, as well as its firing system, remotely using a special remote control and cameras on board. WILDER is capable of operating autonomously , which increases the safety of the crew.
NINOX unmanned aerial vehicle
The most unusual Israeli development is the NINOX quadrocopter . It is created by SpearUAV . This is the first loitering drone launched from a submarine . The robot is stored in a capsule . When launched , it floats to the surface of the water, where it can wait about a day before the quadrocopter takes off from it.
The device can fly 10 km and work up to 45 minutes . The drone is capable of carrying a load of up to 1 kg , it is difficult to detect , it is equipped with special sensors for reconnaissance and target location using AI.
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Autonomous BLACK HAWK helicopters
The next robot for the army is developed in the USA . This is the famous BLACK HAWK combat helicopter , upgraded by Sikorsky and DARPA (US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The helicopter is equipped with a flight crew automation system and Sikorsky Matrix autonomy technology, making it a fully autonomous aircraft .
BLACK HAWK can independently carry out the necessary pre-flight procedures , including wind checks , and can also control the elements of adaptive flight – takeoff and landing . The helicopter has an obstacle detection system . It can adequately respond to emergencies without human intervention.
Recently, the helicopter was tested on cargo and rescue missions without the participation of an operator. After the test, Sikorsky director Igor Cherepinsky stated that the Matrix technology was ready for real implementation .
RACER and SQUAD X EXPERIEMENTATION programs from DARPA
DARPA is actively testing ground-based robotic vehicles that can keep up with human drivers. The RACER program involves the development of unmanned vehicles capable of moving over difficult rough terrain at decent speed and without a map.
And the experimental program DARPA SQUAD X EXPERIEMENTATION is aimed at developing and testing prototypes of autonomous systems equipped with new sensors and artificial intelligence technologies . These devices must be able to act both on the command of a person and independently . Moreover, in all cases they will need the ability to analyze the situation and work together both among themselves and with living soldiers.
This project was launched by the US Department of Defense in 2017 . Its goal is to use artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to process a large amount of visual data coming from the ministry’s aerial drones located around the world.
The algorithms being developed as part of the project must decipher huge amounts of intelligence and surveillance data. According to media reports, today this method is used by many intelligence and operational agencies . It is often referred to as algorithmic warfare.
Visual Augmentation System
This system is considered a long-term US Army project with unclear prospects. It is an augmented reality headset for soldiers. The project is being implemented by Microsoft . She promised the military to create an integrated visual augmentation system based on the HoloLens AR headset .
In 2021 , the company signed a contract according to which it will supply 120,000 such devices to the US Army in 10 years and almost $22 billion . Microsoft provided the military with glasses, but they were disappointed in them and the project was postponed. In the spring of 2022 , the contract amount was reduced and the first batch of 5 thousand pieces went to the military . But it soon became known that they were dissatisfied with the operation of the device . They did not like both the technical component and the negative effects that arise after wearing glasses .
If you had to pick the most important technology in today’s military arsenal, it would definitely be communications. It is the connection or its absence that can quickly turn the tide of the battle .
An interesting anti-interference technology was recently introduced by Boeing . The event took the form of a series of simulation exercises using the Protected Tactical SATCOM prototype. The purpose of the technology is to provide the military with a Protected Tactical Waveform radio signal that is resistant to interference .
Details were not disclosed, but the basic idea is that the system is capable of identifying and geolocating the source of interference transmission, and then forming an oncoming beam to suppress them in real time by analyzing thousands of data points per second .
US Army Vision 2030
The US Army has developed a concept , according to which by 2030 should be produced:
- Easy integration between different branches of the military , so that they can interact as one organism.
- Using state-of-the- art sensors and long-range weapons , backed by increasingly sophisticated robotic systems from widely dispersed locations, to combat the enemy.
The idea behind this is to hide targets from a potential enemy while still being able to focus firepower at the right time in the right place. In this case, ground, air, orbital, sea and robotic means will be used. And they will all work together.
The US Army plans that in 2030 virtual reality and simulation will be able to give soldiers the experience of working in a variety of military scenarios without any risk. The military will rely more on smart surveillance vehicles and robots for the army with more power than current equivalent devices.
The new weapons will include hypersonic missiles , powerful laser and microwave weapons for short-range mobile air defenses. All of this will be supported by a new logistics supply and support chain that will also favor autonomous vehicles .
Interestingly, the concept says little about the use of artificial intelligence . Although, as we saw earlier, there are many programs for its application and a lot of money is pouring into development. So what are the prospects for artificial intelligence on the battlefield and can it be given complete freedom?
Benefits of using robots on the battlefield
On the one hand, artificial intelligence is good at making decisions . It substantially improves self-regulation , self-control , and self-activation of combat systems. It can process big data to detect threats , make impartial strategic decisions based on accurate and fast analysis.
Moreover, even today, neural networks are actively used in the selection of candidates for recruitment, as well as in the preparation of the military . Smart algorithms adjust individual learning parameters , add more realism to simulators , and give fair grades .
On the battlefield, artificial intelligence helps in the efficient processing of data from various sources, allows for proactive logistics , and also reduces danger through the use of autonomous robots.
On the other hand, people may overestimate the conclusions drawn by artificial intelligence , both in relation to the situation on the battlefield and in relation to the recruitment and training of the military. Algorithms do not adapt well to changing conditions and can be biased in nature. At the same time, the priority of their conclusions can bring discord into the ranks of the professional military .
We must also take into account the fact that robots for the army cannot understand the concepts of ethics or law . Therefore, they are not always able to distinguish what is right and what is not . In addition, creativity is alien to machines, and standard solutions are far from suitable for all situations on the battlefield.
But progress cannot be stopped, and artificial intelligence technologies will definitely develop intensively in military affairs . And there is only one fundamental question: will robots be given freedom of choice when striking?
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