FEATURED /// Aug 06, 2021
The Future of Robotics: Changes to Expect in Combat
Robotics technology has come a long way in public, private, and--most notably--military use.
As robotics progress from hands-on tools to partners in combat, they significantly reduce the risk for soldiers on the battlefield.
Robots in combat can be used for a variety of advantage-gaining tactics. For example, some robots may be used strictly for reconnaissance purposes.
This means they are built with the purpose of entering unsafe spaces, recording video, audio, or other measures, and broadcasting them back to a secured team away from the threat. From there, the team can take the information gained from the robot to make tactical decisions.
Other robotics, however, could take part in the combat through the remote use of weaponry or bomb-disposal technology. For example, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) robots can disrupt devices from a safe distance by using tools to prevent activation, all while leaving evidence intact. If disruption is not enough, EOD robots can also deliver counter-charges to explode a threat or remove it from high-traffic areas altogether.
Future robotic technology that’s currently in development also includes gear solutions to lighten the equipment loads of soldiers. These robot prototypes would act as pack-mules for soldiers--traveling alongside them among even the most rugged of terrain allowing for more speed and mobility.
Military robots can be used on land, air, or at sea. Here’s a look at just a few of the robotics on the market today for military use.
Used worldwide for explosive ordnance disposal, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive reconnaissance, sensing, defense, security and rescue missions.
They were the first military robot to be used in active combat in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Now on its fifth generation, TALON 5 is the first Interoperability Profile (IOP) fielded robotic system that has successfully gone through Army Test and Evaluation Command testing. TALON 5’s high performance drive motor option supports speeds up to six miles per hour, with enough torque to climb a 45° staircase.
SPUR can easily navigate through rocks, water, sand and other rough terrain. Weighing less than 28 pounds, SPUR can nimbly climb stairs and surmount obstacles, yet is sized to operate effectively in culverts and sewer pipes that wider robots cannot penetrate.
SPUR revolutionizes robotic capability for dismounted forces with its rapid deployment from its stowed state, tactical mobility and radio range, high-performance manipulator arm and QinetiQ’s UC-LITE universal controller.
This hand-launchable, all-environment system features stealth-like maneuverability, superior ISR imagery, and encrypted video capabilities. It can operate over both land and water with a 50 min. Endurance period and 5km line of sight.
Developed for U.S. Defense and Federal Government Customers, the R80D SkyRaider delivers a single-operator deployment footprint of a proven Group 1 VTOL aircraft. With its ability to carry and deliver multiple payloads up to 4.4 lbs, an open architecture, and one of the fastest, most powerful embedded artificial intelligence (AI) computing devices available on an sUAS, the SkyRaider is redefining what’s possible with a man-packable UAS.
The Iver3-580 is a fully autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) capable of operating unattended for up to ten hours and 100m-200m deep while carrying a variety of sensors. The payload sensors can produce detailed bathymetry, side-scan imagery, magnetometer, water quality, and camera systems (video and stills).
The VideoRay Mission Specialist Pro 5 is designed for speed and efficiency, weighing in at 10kg (22lb). The three-thruster system has a forward speed of over 4.4 knots and utilizes a system of interchangeable, modular components residing on a single, intelligent network.
The Pro 5 is designed to handle missions with size, space, weight, and deployment speed constraints, such as infrastructure inspections beyond the reach of divers, search & recovery, exploring the ocean floor up to 305m, and various others. The Pro 5 builds on the strengths of the Pro 4, with more thrust, longer tether lengths, higher resolution video, and the advantages of the modular systems.
The DTG3 is a mini observation-class underwater ROV built to provide operators the ability to quickly deploy and visually inspect within underwater environments. Equipped with an internal pivoting 4k camera, the unit can hold a position in the water while the camera is rotated 270° above and below.
With expert engineering and the help of gravity, the ROV shell and thrusters can be rotated while gravity holds down the internal semi-circle weighted frame, allowing the ROV to drive straight up and down, side to side, forwards, and backward while using the same thrusters. Intelligent and advanced capabilities make this portable, commercial-grade remotely operated vehicle the best in its class.
TRITON is the world's first and only autonomous, environmentally powered (solar/wind) ocean vehicle that both sails and submerges for long-range, persistent ocean observation and data collection missions.
The TRITON has the unique ability to operate as both an Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) and an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), offering a single platform that can self-deploy to a remote operational area and dive underwater to perform a variety of missions or simply avoid detection. On the surface, the speed is 5+ knots with endurance of 3+ months. The max submergence depth is 200 meters, with a speed of 2+ knots and endurance of 8+ days.
Military personnel around the world must stay prepared for traditional and emerging threats. By employing the use of robotics and emerging technology, military units can be ready for anything, while preserving the safety of their troops.