Military Review

United States in search of autonomous combat robots

In the American Fort Benning in Georgia, a four-day contest took place, where various commercial companies showed the military their military robots, who are able to replenish the ranks of the US Armed Forces. The culmination of the show was the last day when the robots of 4 companies were demonstrated: they fired machine guns using real live ammunition. American companies such as HDT Robotics, iRobot, Northrop Grumman, 5D Robotics, Lockheed Martin and QinetiQ, demonstrated how their robots can maneuver in difficult terrain (including wooded), carry loads and other weights, move autonomously.

"We have been looking at various models of robots for many years now," said Kate Singleton, the head of the Unmanned Systems Group. “Robots live the lives of soldiers, they can perform various tasks, such as surveying improvised explosive devices. Of course, with their use it is necessary to solve a number of complex problems, for example, the question of their mobility. You need robots where you are going to go yourself, so there is a security problem. You need to protect the robot from capture by the enemy or from the capture of the weapons installed on it. ”

Previously, the US military has repeatedly stated that they are looking for opportunities to expand the use of robots and move away from the role of simple tools, as they are used now, to the role of active team members on the modern battlefield. Over the next 20-40 years, android robots will be able to take on the role of executing various tasks - such as controlling various regulators, climbing stairs, opening doors and pioneers in areas dangerous to humans. Over time, the army will be able to get robots that can be sent into battle in a fully autonomous mode for direct physical contact with the enemy.

United States in search of autonomous combat robots

According to Scott Hartley, a senior engineer and co-founder of 5D Robotics, up to the next 10 robots may fall on every American soldier for the next 10 years. All of them will solve many different tasks - from patrolling the area and transporting equipment to escorting and covering soldiers on the battlefield in dangerous situations.

Modern American design

DARPA - The Pentagon's promising research project management has signed a new contract with Boston Dynamics to finalize its four-legged LS3 robot, also widely known as BigDog. The reliability of the robot must be enhanced for its use in the real combat area. It is planned to equip the robot with protection from the impact of small weapons, as well as a silent power supply system that will allow the robot to move without attracting attention. The amount of the additional contract is nearly 10 billion dollars. It is assumed that all work on the new contract will be completed no later than March 31 of 2015.

Such high spending in today's realities, when the US faced serious financial difficulties, is evidence that the Pentagon continues its course of robotization of the American armed forces, which was taken in the middle of the 1990s. By 2020, robots should be up to 30% of the US Army, and this is not about UAVs, whose number is constantly growing, but about various robotized systems for ground forces. The use of robots should cover all areas of the conduct and support of hostilities: reconnaissance, reconnaissance and observation of the terrain, transportation of cargo, sapper functions, suppression of enemy strongholds, etc. In the US, it has already done a lot in this direction; now there are more than 15 thousands of robots in more than 20 of various specialties.

BigDog Robot

The pioneers in the American army were robotic devices Talon and PackBot from the Boston companies Foster-Miller and iRobot, respectively. PackBot is a tracked robot that is distinguished by its low weight - 18 kg. in a complete set of Scout and fits easily into a new American backpack of ground forces. An electronic compass, a GPS navigation system, and a temperature sensor are built into its chassis. The maximum travel speed is 13 km / h. The robot is not afraid of falling from the height of the 1,8 meter, it can be safely thrown into the windows of the captured buildings to detect the enemy. In this case, the robot will be able to return to the working position, even after landing on its back, due to flippers. The robot is controlled by a controller similar to those used in video games. Its use allows fighters to safely explore dangerous objects or poorly viewed places.

The other similar Talon robot in the basic configuration is equipped with a mechanized arm, as well as video and audio equipment, it weighs about 45 kg and can be carried in a special backpack. A lightweight version of a robot without a hand that weighs 27 kg has also been developed. The robot can move with a maximum speed of 1,8 m / s and has 7 speeds, it can climb stairs, it has good maneuverability (it can even move in snow). You can control the robot at a distance of up to 1000 meters using a special joystick. The robot is equipped with lithium ion batteries that hold a charge for 7 days in standby mode or 8,5 hours of continuous operation at medium speeds.

The robot exists in 4-s of various versions: Regular Talon - equipped with a mechanized arm and sensors for finding and neutralizing explosive devices; Special Operations Talon - with installed audio and video recorders for organizing intelligence operations; Swords Talon - for protection and fire support; Hazmat Talon - with sensors of temperature, radiation, gas and chemical impurities to work in the contaminated area.

Talon Robot

To solve problems that require considerable human power, there is an ACER robot created by Mesa Robotics. Its size is comparable to the tractor. With the help of a large cutter, it can cut off obstacles, use a mechanical arm to remove explosive devices, and also play the role of a tractor for faulty vehicles (it can also cope with a bus). It can also be used as a platform for the installation of various weapons. A mine trawl can be installed on ACER to help eliminate anti-personnel mines. The weight of the robot is about 2 tons, the maximum speed - up to 10 km / h.

One of the largest remotely controlled land vehicles is the Crusher, created by the staff of Carnegie Mellon University on the request of DARPA. The curb weight of the machine is nearly 6 tons, which does not prevent the robot to remain a fairly mobile device and successfully overcome obstacles as high as the 1,2 meter. Its body is made of steel frame (bumpers), titanium (frame), aluminum (most of the details of plating). This unit can overcome several miles using electric batteries, which reduce the noise level when driving. When the charge ends, the diesel engine starts, allowing you to move on, while charging the batteries.

The operator controls the machine as in ordinary video games, but the robot is able to move from point A to point B by itself on the easiest and shortest path. In case of loss of communication with the operator, the robot will try to complete the task, or go back to the pre-designated base. The device is designed to solve tasks that are associated with a high risk for personnel: reconnaissance, fire support, assistance in evacuating the wounded, while it is also good as a carrier of heavy loads.

Robot Crusher

Back in 2005, a four-legged robot with adaptive control BigDog was developed. Outwardly, he looks more like a dog than a dog, but a headless buffalo. The robot is designed to transport goods weighing up to 150 kg over rough terrain, and is able to climb slopes with a gradient of 35 degrees. Speed ​​BigDog - 6,4 km / h. It is assumed that this device will accompany infantrymen in places that are difficult for ordinary wheeled vehicles. To keep balance and to stand on 4 legs, sensors help him (of the total order of 50), as well as a laser gyroscope.

There are more promising and interesting developments in the USA, for example, SquishBot - a prototype of a new-class robot, morpho-robots, which are able to change their rigidity, shape and plasticity of the material in case of software necessity, by command from the operator or under certain conditions. Its development is conducted by the DARPA agency together with Boston Dynamics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The results of this project are not given to the public.

Experts equate military robots to nuclear weapons

It is worth noting that representatives of the International Committee for the Control of Military Robots appealed to the international community to impose a ban on the use in the armies of the world of combat robots that would be able to make decisions and open fire on their own. “Governments should listen to the warnings of experts and work closely with them in this direction before it is too late.” It is already necessary to start solving this problem at the international level in order to stop work on the creation of new models of autonomous robots. It may soon be too late, ”said Noel Sharki, who is the chair of the International Committee for the Control of Military Robots.

At present, the appeal of a ban on the use in the armies of the world of combat robots that would be able to kill the enemy without an order from a person was signed by 270 members of this committee. Among them there are experts and engineers in the field of programming and robotics from different countries of the world, the English newspaper The Telegraph reported on 16 in October. According to the presented text of the document, the use of drones and other combat "killer robots" can cause aggravation and initiation of conflict situations on the planet, since the use of such weapons does not exclude the "defeat of civilians."

The UN experts, in turn, compared the robotic revolution in the military sphere with the invention of gunpowder by man, as well as the development of nuclear weapons. The emergence of full-fledged combat robots can erase the distinction between weapons and soldiers. A robot, not a person, will determine its enemy, imposing a death sentence and immediately carrying it out. UN expert Christopher Heins warns that the work of “killer robots” cannot exclude failures, the consequences of hacker attacks or such devices fall into the hands of international terrorists. In addition, at present there is no necessary regulatory framework that would regulate the use of such devices.

Currently, the robots that are used by the US military, a little like us and you. However, progress does not stand still. In July 2013, the press reported that Atlas humanoid robots, which were created with the financial support of the agency DARPA, are in the process of learning. The task of such robots includes helping people during rescue and search operations: the robot will be able to independently clear the path, head to places that are dangerous to human life and health, and open the doors. According to Stuart Hatfield, a lieutenant colonel in the American Army, humanoid robots can be used in combat operations through 20-40 for years, making independent decisions. Someday they can be sent into battle to destroy the enemy. And then there are two questions: who will be this opponent - the same robot or a living person?

Information sources:
—Http: //
—Http: //
—Http: //
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. white_f
    white_f 24 October 2013 09: 44
    BigDog Robot

    or as smile
    1. strannik595
      strannik595 24 October 2013 12: 10
      neighing, thanks laughing
      1. Uncle
        Uncle 24 October 2013 12: 42
        In the second video, where a man kicked a parody of a robot, I think he thought it was a pair of fagots and kicked out of disgust. laughing
        1. cumastra1
          cumastra1 24 October 2013 12: 58
          Four-legged robots as well as two-legged ones are a very complex thing, much easier and more functional - six-legged ones. They are much more sustainable. I'm not saying that it’s simple, but the principle of a three-legged stool suggests itself. It is strange that designers go the more complicated way.
    2. Spectrum
      Spectrum 25 October 2013 17: 13
      It seems that such robots are not very wear-resistant, and do not unmask weakly, I am generally silent about the price, it is unlikely that Amers will be able to make an adequate army of robots with gamers at the head, too many weak spots. And let them spend money.
  2. serjant4
    serjant4 24 October 2013 10: 15
    interesting, but they are not afraid of the "uprising" of the machines :) something painfully reminds the terminator ...
    1. I am
      I am 24 October 2013 11: 26
      ours will come with a crowbar ...... and the exile will end
  3. Poppy
    Poppy 24 October 2013 11: 09
    equip the robot with silent power - understand
    and where to charge the batteries in the field?
  4. saag
    saag 24 October 2013 11: 20
    Quote: Poppy
    and where to charge the batteries in the field?

    Embed a small gas generator
    1. Starover_Z
      Starover_Z 24 October 2013 19: 40
      If for refueling in a clean field, diesel is better - it is not so demanding on fuel quality. And what will be heard - let the enemies be afraid laughing
  5. MilaPhone
    MilaPhone 24 October 2013 12: 58
    Damn, something very fast the Yankees are progressing in the field of military robotics.
  6. Maximus-xnumx
    Maximus-xnumx 24 October 2013 13: 07
    Good article. Informative enough. Progress does not stand still .... Although the robot will not be able to replace a person on the battlefield soon.
  7. rotor
    rotor 24 October 2013 13: 34

    Legged Robot Testing in Desert



    RHex Rough-Terrain Robot


    Sand flea jumping robot
    1. Spectrum
      Spectrum 25 October 2013 17: 23
      to the last remains only a mine to stick.
  8. Nayhas
    Nayhas 24 October 2013 14: 29
    So we survived, together with the robots into battle ... "Friend, leave to smoke! And in response, silence, the robot stupidly hung due to a failure ..."
  9. spirit
    spirit 24 October 2013 14: 46
    Boston Dynamics good this is not BW SMARTPHONE))
  10. Follow us
    Follow us 24 October 2013 15: 37
    All this electronic brethren is suitable only for the corral of the Papuans.
    1. me
      me 24 October 2013 16: 38
      So far, yes, but you have to start somewhere.
  11. saag
    saag 24 October 2013 18: 10
    Quote: Maximus-22
    Although not yet soon on the battlefield, the robot will be able to replace a person.

    a six-legged, hairy, robot machine-gunner, at night, seeing you can grab a heart attack with myocardium :-)
  12. JonnyT
    JonnyT 24 October 2013 19: 40
    Hmm ..... of course there is a sense. I now consider that their scope is very narrow. Security special. facilities, patrolling, reconnaissance, clearance, single cargo transportation - and all this under the control of an operator that will not be completely autonomous for 100 years ... an American expert dreamed of 10 robots on the 1 soldier through 10 years)))) And where to get resources ?
    1. Walker1975
      Walker1975 24 October 2013 23: 26
      Intelligence is no longer enough. Imagine a small robot equipped with a thermal imager, a sensitive microphone, a motion detector, etc. He crawls, detects the sentry and passes it to the enemy sniper on the tablet.
    2. I think so
      I think so 25 October 2013 00: 25
      In principle, a combat robot can specialize in the following military "professions":
      1. The sniper.
      2. Grenade launcher.
      3. Scout.
      4. Watchman, guard.
      5. Tow truck.
      6. A carrier of cartridges, medicines, products.

      It seems to me that the greatest prospect and ease of execution and use is perimeter security and sniping. Imagine a tussock in the field, watching around, an enemy appeared (a tussock) shot him and then waits ... Or a grenade launcher ... a tank appeared on the horizon here and a grenade aboard ... And then to recharge the batteries home ...
  13. Mikhail3
    Mikhail3 24 October 2013 22: 11
    A strange parade of freaks ... but the first photo is serious. In general, at the modern level, making a shooting combat platform, albeit completely autonomous, is not difficult at all. Difficulties arise in the question of the correct application of these pieces. I really hope that the evolution of "combat robots" will continue to go in the modern direction ...
  14. Sergey_K
    Sergey_K 25 October 2013 02: 08
    The Boston Dynamics is the absolute leader in such things. It still amazes them BigDog. Great products, or else there will be ...
    1. Thunderbolt
      Thunderbolt 25 October 2013 02: 38
      [quote = Sergey_K] Boston Dynamics is the absolute leader in such things. It still amazes them BigDog. Great products, or else there will be ...
      [/ quote] I'm on "Pear" on the same hills, Zhiguli-wooded, I would drift, I would squeeze
      1. Thunderbolt
        Thunderbolt 25 October 2013 14: 44
        On Grusha (this is such a musical and tourist rally named after Valery Grushin) at night it is still smoked, and the acoustic assistants do not work, because. from all the cracks a melodic sound is heard, and the birds are "moved" and firewood is seen in all the lights / joke /, in a word, if such an IRON DOG makes pies in our battle formation, there will be losses, and "-", therefore what is Made in yUSA? Yes, spit, let it come closer, capture in hand-to-hand combat, weak wink
  15. The comment was deleted.
  16. Ols76
    Ols76 25 October 2013 06: 51
    autonomous battle robot.

    1. Spectrum
      Spectrum 25 October 2013 17: 27
      On the battlefield, this is a good bonus with weapons and ammo for the enemy.