Robotics in military ? what it is and what it can be

Posted by tedmark on May 4th, 2014

Robotics has been a staple of advanced manufacturing for over half a century. As robots and their peripheral equipment become more sophisticated, reliable and miniaturized, these systems are increasingly being utilized for military and law enforcement purposes. Robotics in military isn’t about creating an army of humanoids but it’s about the utilization of robotics technology for fighting wars and battles and defending the country.

For what it is known, the military doesn't use the kinds of humanoid assault robots people have come to expect from movies like The Terminator. Whether or not a robot looks like a human doesn't matter much in today's military applications. Robots come in many shapes and sizes, and although there isn't really any single definition of a robot, one common definition is this: a machine that is controlled, in whole or in part, by an onboard computer. Robots also have sensors that allow them to get information from their surroundings, some form of locomotion and a power source.

If the robots in military aren't shaped like humans, what shapes do they come in? It depends on the kinds of jobs the robot is built to carry out. The robots in military that have to negotiate difficult terrain use tank treads. Flying robots look pretty much like small airplanes. Some robots are the size of trucks, and they look pretty much like trucks or bulldozers. Other, smaller robots have a very low profile to allow for great maneuverability. One very important thing to keep in mind about the robots in military is that they are designed to help soldiers on the battlefield but have to be carried onto the battlefield by those soldiers. For that reason, the robotics in military experts try to design “man-portable” designs. A man-portable robot can be carried by a single soldier, usually in a special backpack.

If you take a look at the robotics in military you can see that, currently, the robots in use by the military are small, flat robots mounted on miniature tank treads. These robots are tough, able to tackle almost any terrain and usually have a variety of sensors built in, including audio and video surveillance and chemical detection. The greatest thing about these robots in military is that they are versatile, with different sensor or weapon packages available that mount to the main chassis. Virtually all of them are man-portable.

In the air, on land and at sea, military robots are proliferating. But the revolution in robotics in military does have an Achilles heel. As robots become more autonomous, identifying a human to hold accountable for a bloody blunder will become very difficult. Should it be the robot's programmer, designer, manufacturer, human overseer or his superiors? It is hard to say.

With the advances made, nowadays, in the robotics in military domain, many people fear that wars will break out easily and, what’s more important, the value of human life will decrease. But not everything is so gloomy when talking about robots in military. These robots were actually built to be put to good use and to protect as many human lives as possible!

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