Military Review

Fighting robots in future wars: expert conclusions

Fighting robots in future wars: expert conclusions

In early February of this year. The editorial board of the Independent Military Review hosted a traditional expert round table organized by the Independent Expert Analytical Center EPOHA and dedicated to the development of military robotic complexes.

The participants of the discussion, understanding the complexity, complexity and even ambiguity of the problems of developing military robotics, agreed on one thing: the future is in this direction, and our future successes or failures depend on how professionally we operate in this field today.

The main theses of those who spoke in the discussion on this important topic for prospective military construction of the Russian Federation are given below.


Igor Mikhailovich Popov - candidate historical Sci., Scientific Director of the Independent Expert and Analytical Center "EPOCHA"

The topic of the development of robotics is a key one for the modern world. Humanity, by and large, is just entering a real era of robotization, while some countries are already striving to become leaders. In the long run, those who have already found their place in the global technological race in the field of robotics will win.

Russia has quite favorable positions in this regard - there is a scientific and technological reserve, there are personnel and talents, there is an innovative spirit and creative aspiration for the future. Moreover, the country's leadership understands the importance of the development of robotics and is doing everything possible to ensure Russia's leading position in this field.

Robotics play a special role in ensuring national security and defense. The armed forces, equipped with promising types and models of tomorrow's robotic complexes, will have an undeniable intellectual and technological superiority over the enemy, who for one reason or another will not be able to join the elite "club of robotic powers" in time and will be on the sidelines of the unfolding robotic revolution. Technological lag in the field of robotics today can have disastrous consequences in the future.

That is why it is so important today to take the problem of the development of robotics both in the country and in the army with all seriousness and objectivity, without propaganda fanfare and triumphant reports, but thoughtfully, comprehensively and conceptually. And in this area there is something to think about.

The first obvious and long overdue problem is the terminological base of the sphere of robotics. There are many variants of definitions of the term “robot”, but there is no unity of approaches. Sometimes a robot is called a children's radio-controlled toy, a car gearbox, a manipulator in the assembly shop, a surgical instrument for physicians, and even smart bombs and rockets. In the same row with them are, on the one hand, unique developments of robots-androids and, on the other hand, serial models of unmanned aerial vehicles.

So what do official officials of various ministries and departments, heads of industrial enterprises and scientific organizations mean when they talk about robotics? Sometimes it seems that this fashionable term now rushed to juggle all and sundry. The account of all sorts of robots is already going on hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

The conclusion is unequivocal: we need the generally accepted terminology in the field of robotics to separate the basic concepts of remote control systems, automatic, semi-autonomous, autonomous systems, systems with artificial intelligence. At the expert level, there should be clear boundaries of these concepts, so that everyone can communicate in the same language and that decision makers do not have false notions and unjustified expectations.

As a result, it seems to us, we will inevitably have to introduce new concepts that in the most appropriate form would reflect the technological realities of the sphere of robotics. Under the robot, obviously, it would be rational to keep in mind a system with artificial intelligence, which has a high or full degree of autonomy (independence) from a person. If we take such an approach as a basis, then the number of robots can be measured today in pieces. And the rest of the array of so-called robots will be, at best, only automated or remote-controlled devices, systems and platforms.

The problem of terminology in the field of robotics is particularly relevant for the military department. And here an important problem arises: is a robot needed in the army?

In the public mind, fighting robots are associated with pictures of running android robots attacking enemy positions. But if you leave from fiction, then immediately there are several problems. We are confident that creating such a robot is a very real task for creative teams of scientists, designers and engineers. But how much will they need for this time, and how much will the android they create cost? How much will the production of hundreds or thousands of such combat robots cost?

There is a general rule: the value of the weapon should not exceed the value of the object of destruction. It is unlikely that the commander of the future robotic brigade will decide to throw his androids in a frontal attack on the fortified positions of the enemy.

Then the question arises: do we really need such android robots in linear combat units? To date, the answer is likely to be negative. It is expensive and very difficult, and practical returns and efficiencies are extremely low. It is difficult to imagine any situation on the battlefield in which the robot-android would be more effective than a professional soldier. Unless acting in conditions of radioactive contamination of the area ...

But what exactly the tactical-level commanders need today is airborne and ground-based remotely-controlled or automated reconnaissance, surveillance, tracking systems; engineering vehicles for various purposes. It’s just justified to call all such systems and complexes robotic - the question, as we have said, is controversial.

If we talk about real robots with a certain amount of artificial intelligence, then another problem is closely related to this. To achieve a significant level of development in the field of robotics is impossible without qualitative leaps and real achievements in other - related and not very related - branches of science and technology. We are talking about cybernetics, global-level automated control systems, new materials, nanotechnology, bionics, brain research, etc. etc. It is possible to talk about an industrial and industrial breakthrough in the field of robotics only when a powerful scientific, technological and production base of the 6 technological structure has been created in the country. In addition, for a military robot, everything - from a bolt to a chip - should be of domestic production. Therefore, experts are so skeptical about the bravura statements about the next, unparalleled in the world achievements of domestic robotics.

If we carefully and impartially analyze the approaches of foreign highly developed countries to the problems of robotics, then we can conclude: they understand the importance of developing this area, but they stand on positions of sober realism. Money can be counted abroad.

Robotics is the cutting edge of science and technology, it is still largely terra-incognito. It is still premature to talk about any real achievements in this field that could have a revolutionary impact, for example, on the sphere of national security and defense, on the sphere of warfare. In our opinion, this should also be taken into account when determining priorities for the development of armaments and military equipment for the needs of the army.

The civilian sector of the economy and business as a whole sets the tone for the development of robotics in the modern world. This is understandable. It is much easier to create a robotic manipulator device used to assemble a car than the most primitive remotely controlled ground transport system for the needs of the army. The current trend is obviously justified: the movement goes from simple to complex. A military robotic complex must act not just in a complex, but in a hostile environment. This is a fundamental requirement for any military system.

Therefore, it seems to us that the locomotive in the development of robotics in Russia should be enterprises and organizations of the military-industrial complex that have all the resources and competencies for this, but in the near future the demand for civilian, specialized and dual-use robot complexes will be higher than purely military, and especially combat purposes.

And this is the objective reality of our day.


Alexander Nikolaevich Postnikov - Colonel-General, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces (2012 – 2014)

The urgency of the raised problem of an overly broad interpretation of the concept “robot” is beyond doubt. This problem is not as harmless as it may seem at first glance. For errors in determining the directions of development of weapons and military equipment (IWT), the state and society can pay too high a price. The situation is especially dangerous when customers understand theirs as “robots,” and manufacturers mean theirs! There are prerequisites for this.

Robots are needed in the army mainly to achieve two goals: replacing a person in dangerous situations or autonomous solution of combat tasks previously solved by people. If new means of warfare, delivered as robots, are not capable of solving these tasks, then they are only an improvement of existing types of weapons and military equipment. These are also needed, but must pass through their class. Perhaps the time has come for specialists to give an independent definition of a new class of fully autonomous weapons and military equipment models that the military today calls "combat robots."

Along with this, in order to equip the armed forces with all the necessary nomenclature of armaments and military equipment in a rational proportion, it is required to clearly divide weapons and military equipment into remotely controlled, semi-autonomous and autonomous.

People have created remotely controlled mechanical devices for centuries. The principles have not changed much. If hundreds of years ago, the power of air, water or steam was used to perform any work remotely, then already during the First World War, electricity began to be used for these purposes. The gigantic losses in that Great War (as it was later called) forced all countries to intensify attempts to remotely use the ones that appeared on the battlefield tanks and airplanes. And certain successes were already then.

For example, from Russian history we know about Ulyanin Sergei Alekseevich, colonel of the Russian army (later - Major General), aircraft designer, aeronaut, military pilot, who did a lot for the development of the Russian aviation. Known fact: on October 10, 1915, in the arena of the Admiralty, Colonel S. Ulyanin demonstrated to the Commission of the Maritime Department the current model of a system for controlling the movement of mechanisms at a distance. The radio-controlled boat passed from Kronstadt to Peterhof.

Subsequently, during the entire twentieth century, the idea of ​​remotely controlled equipment was actively worked out in various design bureaus. Here you can recall the domestic 30-s telethon women or unmanned aerial vehicles and radio-controlled targets 50-x - 60-s.

Semi-autonomous combat vehicles began to be introduced into the armed forces of economically developed states in the 70s of the last century. The widespread introduction of cybernetic systems at that time into various ground, surface (underwater) or airborne weapons systems allows us to consider them as semi-autonomous (and in some places even autonomous!) Combat systems. This process was especially convincing in the Air Defense Forces, aircraft and navy. What are, for example, warning systems for a space rocket attack or control of outer space! No less automated (or as they would say now - robots) are various anti-aircraft missile systems. Take at least S-300 or S-400.

In a modern war without “air robots,” victory became impossible. Photos from the official website of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

Over the past two decades, the Ground Forces have also been actively automating various functions and tasks of conventional weapons and military equipment. There has been an intensive development of ground-based robotic vehicles, used not only as vehicles, but also as carriers of weapons. Nevertheless, it is still premature to speak of this as the robotization of the Ground Forces.

Today, the Armed Forces need autonomous military equipment and weapons that would meet the new conditions of the situation, a new battlefield. More precisely, to a new combat space, which includes, along with well-known spheres, cyberspace. Fully autonomous domestic systems were created almost 30 years ago. Our "Buran" already in the distant 1988 year flew into space in a completely unmanned mode, landing in an airplane. However, such opportunities in our time is not enough. There are a number of fundamental requirements for modern military equipment, without which it will not be effective on the battlefield.

For example, the actual requirement for combat robots is the compliance of their tactical and technical characteristics with the increased dynamics of modern combat operations. Lumbering combatants can become an easy victim of the enemy. The struggle for the predominance of the speed of movement on the battlefield (in a sense, the “war of motors”) was characteristic throughout the past century. Today, she only escalated.

It is also important to have in the Armed Forces of such robots, the maintenance of which would require minimal human intervention. Otherwise, the enemy will purposefully strike at people from supporting structures and will easily stop any “mechanical” army.

Insisting on the need to have autonomous robots in the Armed Forces, I understand that in the short term, the widespread introduction into the troops of various semi-autonomous technical devices and automated vehicles, which primarily solve tasks, is most likely. Such systems are also needed.

With the improvement of special software, their participation in the war will increase significantly. According to some forecasts, the widespread introduction of truly autonomous robots into the ground forces of various armies of the world can be expected in 2020 – 2030-ies, when autonomous human-like robots become quite sophisticated and relatively inexpensive for mass use in combat.

Nevertheless, there are many problems on this path. They are connected not only with the technical features of the creation of weapons and military equipment with artificial intelligence, but also with social and legal aspects. For example, if the fault of a robot killed civilians or because of the program’s incompleteness, the robot began to kill its soldiers - who will be responsible: the manufacturer, the programmer, the commander, or someone else?

There are a lot of similar issues. The main thing - the war changes its face. The role and place of the armed man in it is changing. Creating a full-fledged robot requires joint efforts of specialists from various fields of human activity. Not only gunsmiths, but to a considerable degree - psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and specialists in the field of information technology and artificial intelligence.

The difficulty is that everything must be done in the conditions of a pronounced shortage of time.


Musa Magomedovich Khamzatov - Candidate of Military Sciences, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces for the Coordination of Scientific and Technological Development (2010 – 2011)

The current situation with the introduction of robots into the armed forces very much resembles the conditions of a hundred years ago, when the most developed countries began to massively introduce an unprecedented technique - airplanes. I will dwell on some similar aspects.

In the early twentieth century, the vast majority of scientists and engineers had no idea about aviation. The development was a method of numerous trial and error, relying on the energy of enthusiasts. Moreover, before the First World War, engineers and designers could not even imagine that in a couple of war years airplanes would start to be produced by tens of thousands of pieces, and many enterprises would be involved in their production.

Similar is the long period of initiative research, and the explosive growth of the role and place of new technology in military affairs, when war demanded it, and the state began to give this direction priority attention.

We observe similar trends in robotics. As a result, many today, including high-ranking managers, also probably have a vague understanding of what and what kind of robots are needed in the military.

Today, the question of whether or not to be fighting robots in the armed forces is no longer worth it. The need to transfer part of combat missions from people to various mechanical devices is considered an axiom. Robots can already recognize faces, gestures, surroundings, moving objects, distinguish sounds, work in a team, coordinate their actions at large distances through the Network.

At the same time, the conclusion that technical devices, called today combat robots, military robots, or combat robotic complexes, should be called differently, is very relevant. Otherwise, there is confusion. For example, are “intellectual” shells, rockets, bombs or cluster munitions with self-targeting combat elements robots? In my opinion - no. And a lot of reasons for this.

Today the problem is different - robots are coming. In the literal and figurative sense. The mutual influence of two trends: the growth trend of the intelligence of "conventional" weapons (first of all, heavy) and the trend of reducing the cost of computing power - marked the onset of a new era. Epochs of robotic armies. The process has accelerated so much that samples of new, more advanced combat robots or combat robotic complexes are being created so quickly that the previous generation becomes obsolete even before the industry starts its mass production. The result is the equipment of the armed forces, although modern, but morally obsolete systems (complexes). The ambiguity of the basic concepts in the field of robotics only exacerbates the problem.

The second important direction on which today it is necessary to concentrate efforts is the active development of theoretical foundations and practical recommendations on the use and provision of robotics in the preparation and in the course of combat operations.

First of all, this refers to ground combat robots, the development of which, given their high demand in modern combat, lagged far behind the development of unmanned aerial vehicles.

The lag is due to the more complex conditions in which land participants in an all-arms battle must operate. In particular, all aircraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles, operate in the same environment — airborne. A feature of this environment is the relative uniformity of its physical properties in all directions from the starting point.

An important advantage of unmanned aerial vehicles is the possibility of their destruction only by prepared calculations using ground-to-air (air-to-air) missiles or specially modified small weapons.

Terrestrial robotic systems, in contrast to air, operate under much more stringent conditions that require either more complex design solutions or more complex software.

The fighting almost never goes on a level area like a table. Ground combat vehicles have to move along a complex trajectory: up and down the landscape; overcome rivers, moats, scarp, counter scarp and other natural and man-made obstacles. In addition, it is necessary to evade the fire impact of the enemy and take into account the possibility of mining paths, etc. In fact, the driver (operator) of any combat vehicle during a battle has to solve a multifactorial task with a large number of essentially important, but unknown and changeable in time indicators. And this is in conditions of extreme shortage of time. Moreover, the situation on earth sometimes changes every second, constantly demanding clarification of the decision to continue the movement.

Practice has shown that solving these problems is a difficult task. Therefore, the vast majority of modern ground-based combat robotic complexes are, in fact, remotely controlled machines. Unfortunately, the conditions for the use of such robots are extremely limited. Given the possible active opposition from the enemy, such military equipment may be ineffective. Yes, and the cost of its preparation, transportation to the area of ​​hostilities, use and maintenance can significantly exceed the benefits of its actions.

No less acute today is the problem of providing "understanding" of artificial intelligence information about the environment and the nature of the opposition of the enemy. Combat robots should be able to autonomously carry out their tasks, taking into account the specific tactical situation.

To do this, today it is necessary to actively conduct work on the theoretical description and creation of algorithms for the functioning of a combat robot, not only as a separate combat unit, but also as an element of a complex system of combined-arms combat. And necessarily taking into account the peculiarities of the national military art. The problem is that the world is changing too quickly, and the specialists themselves often do not have time to realize what is important and what is not, what is the main thing and what is a special case or a free interpretation of individual events. The latter is not such a rarity. As a rule, this is due to the lack of a clear understanding of the nature of the war of the future and all possible causal relationships between its participants. The problem is complex, but the value of solving it is no less than the importance of creating a “super-fighting robot.”

A wide range of special software for the effective functioning of robots is required during all stages of preparation and conduct of combat operations with their participation. The main of these stages, in the most general terms, include the following: obtaining a combat mission; collection of information; planning; taking the starting position; continuous evaluation of the tactical situation; fighting; interaction; exit from battle; recovery; redeployment.

In addition, it is likely that the task of organizing effective semantic interaction both between people and combat robots, and between different types of (different manufacturers) combat robots, also requires its solution. This requires conscious cooperation between manufacturers, especially with regard to all machines "speaking the same language." If combat robots cannot actively exchange information on the battlefield because their “languages” or technical parameters of information transfer do not match, then there is no need to talk about any joint use. Accordingly, the definition of common standards for programming, processing and exchanging information is also one of the main tasks in creating full-fledged combat robots.


The answer to the question of what kind of combat robots Russia needs is impossible without an understanding of what military robots are for, who, when, and in what quantity. In addition, it is necessary to agree on the terms: first of all, what to call a “fighting robot”.

Today, the wording from the Military Encyclopaedic Dictionary posted on the official website of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is considered official: “A combat robot is a multifunctional technical device with anthropomorphic (human-like) behavior that partially or fully performs human functions when solving certain combat tasks.”

The dictionary divides the combat robots according to the degree of their dependence (or, more precisely, independence) from the human operator into three generations: with remote control, adaptive and intelligent.

The compilers of the dictionary (including the Military Scientific Committee of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces) apparently relied on the opinion of specialists from the Main Directorate for Research and Development and Technological Support of Advanced Technologies (Innovative Research) of the RF Ministry of Defense, which determines the main directions of development in the field of robotic complexes in the interests of the Armed Forces, and the Main Research and Testing Center for Robotics of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, which is the head research RGANIZATION Defense Ministry in the field of robotics. Probably, the position of the Advanced Research Foundation (FPI), with which the mentioned organizations closely cooperate on robotization issues, was not left without attention either.

Today, the most common combat robots of the first generation (controlled devices) and the systems of the second generation (semi-autonomous devices) are rapidly improving. For the transition to the use of third-generation combat robots (autonomous devices), scientists are developing a self-learning system with artificial intelligence, which will combine the capabilities of the most advanced technologies in the field of navigation, visual object recognition, artificial intelligence, weapons, independent power sources, camouflage, etc.

Nevertheless, the issue with terminology cannot be considered resolved, since not only Western experts do not use the term “combat robot”, but also the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation (Art. 15) refers to the characteristic features of modern military conflicts “massive use of weapons systems and military equipment ... information management systems, as well as unmanned aerial and autonomous naval vehicles, guided robotic models of weapons and military equipment. "

Representatives of the Defense Ministry see robotization of weapons, military and special equipment as a priority for the development of the Armed Forces, which implies "the creation of gearless machines in the form of robotic systems and military complexes of various application environments."

Based on the achievements of science and the pace of introduction of new technologies in all areas of human life, in the foreseeable future, autonomous combat systems (“combat robots”) capable of solving most combat missions and autonomous systems for the rear and technical support of troops can be created. But what will war be like in 10 – 20 years? How to prioritize the development and commissioning of combat systems of varying degrees of autonomy, taking into account the financial, economic, technological, resource and other capabilities of the state?

Speaking at 10 February 2016 at the conference “Robotization of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”, the head of the Main Research and Testing Center for Robotics of the RF Ministry of Defense Colonel Sergey Popov said that “the main goals of the robotization of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are to achieve new quality weapons for improving combat mission and reduce the loss of military personnel. "

In his interview on the eve of the conference, he literally said the following: “Using military robots, we, most importantly, will be able to reduce combat losses, minimize damage to the lives and health of military personnel in the course of professional activity and at the same time ensure the required efficiency in carrying out mission tasks”.

A simple replacement by a robot of a person in a battle is not just humane, it is expedient, if indeed "the required efficiency of carrying out tasks to the destination is ensured." But for this, you first need to determine what is meant by the effectiveness of the implementation of tasks and to what extent this approach corresponds to the financial and economic possibilities of the country.

The samples of robotics presented to the public can in no way be attributed to combat robots capable of increasing the efficiency of solving the main tasks of the Armed Forces - deterring and repelling possible aggression.

The vast territory, extreme physiographic and weather-climatic conditions of some regions of the country, extended state border, demographic restrictions and other factors require the development and creation of remotely controlled and semi-autonomous systems capable of solving the tasks of protecting and defending borders on land, sea, under water and in aerospace.

Tasks such as countering terrorism; protection and defense of important state and military objects, objects on communications; ensuring public safety; participation in emergency response - already partially solved with the help of robotic systems for various purposes.

Creation of robotic combat systems for conducting combat operations against the enemy both on the “traditional battlefield” with the presence of a line of contact between the parties (even if rapidly changing) and in an urbanized civil-military environment with a randomly changing environment where the usual battle formations of the troops are absent, also should be among the priorities. At the same time, it is useful to take into account the experience of other countries engaged in military robotization, which is a very financially expensive project.

Currently, around 40 countries, including the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, China, Israel, and South Korea, are developing robots capable of fighting without human participation.

Today, 30 states develop and produce up to 150 types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), of which 80 is adopted by the 55 armies of the world. Although unmanned aerial vehicles do not belong to classic robots, since they do not reproduce human activity, they are usually referred to as robotic systems.

During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States had only a few dozen UAVs and not a single ground robot. In the 2009 year, they already had the 5300 BLA, and in the 2013 year - more than 7000. The massive use of improvised explosive devices by the rebels in Iraq caused a sharp acceleration of the development of ground-based robots by the Americans. In 2009, the US Armed Forces already had more than 12 thousand robotized ground devices.

To date, about 20 samples have been developed for remotely controlled ground vehicles for the army. The air force and navy are working on about the same number of air, surface and submarine systems.

The world experience of using robots shows that the robotization of industry is many times ahead of other spheres of their use, including military. That is, the development of robotics in civilian industries feeds its development for military purposes.

To design and create combat robots, we need trained people: designers, mathematicians, engineers, technologists, assemblers, etc. But not only should the modern education system of Russia prepare them, but also those who will use and maintain them. We need those who are able to reconcile the robotization of military affairs and the evolution of war in strategies, plans and programs.

How to relate to the development of combat cyborg robots? Apparently, international and national legislation should define the limits of the introduction of artificial intelligence in order to prevent the possibility of machine uprising against man and the destruction of humanity.

It will take the formation of a new psychology of war and a warrior. The state of danger is changing, not a man goes to war, but a car. Who is to be awarded: a dead robot or an “office fighter” sitting behind the monitor far from the battlefield, or even on another continent.

All these are serious problems that require meticulous attention.


Boris Gavrilovich Putilin - Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Veteran of the GRU of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces

The topic stated at this round table is certainly an important and necessary one. The world does not stand still, technology and technology do not stand still. New systems of armaments and military equipment, fundamentally new means of destruction, which have a revolutionary impact on the conduct of the armed struggle, on the forms and methods of using forces and means are constantly appearing. Fighting robots fall into this category.

I fully agree that the terminology in the field of robotics has not yet been developed. There are many definitions, but there are even more questions for them. For example, as NASA’s space agency interprets this term: “Robots are machines that can be used to do work. Some robots can do the work themselves. Other robots should always have a person who tells them what to do. ” This kind of definition only confuses the whole situation.

Once again, we are convinced that science often does not keep pace with the pace of life and the changes taking place in the world. Scientists and experts can argue about what is meant by the term "robot", but these creations of the human mind have already entered our lives.

On the other hand, it is impossible to use this term to the right and to the left, without pondering over its content. Remotely controlled platforms — by wire or by radio — are not robots. The so-called teletokank tested with us before the Great Patriotic War. Obviously, only autonomous devices that are capable of acting without human participation or at least with his minimum participation can be called real robots. Another thing is that on the way to the creation of such robots you need to go through the intermediate stage of remotely controlled devices. This is all movement in one direction.

Combat robots, regardless of their appearance, degree of autonomy, capabilities and abilities rely on the "sense organs" - sensors and sensors of various types and purposes. Already now reconnaissance drones equipped with various observation systems are flying in the sky above the battlefield. The United States Armed Forces have created and widely used a variety of battlefield sensors that can see, hear, analyze smells, feel vibrations and transmit this data into a single troop control system. The task is to achieve absolute informational awareness, that is, to completely dispel the “fog of war” that Karl von Clausewitz once wrote about.

Can these sensors and sensors be called robots? Separately, probably, and not, but in the complex they create a voluminous robotic system for collecting, processing and displaying intelligence information. Tomorrow such a system will operate autonomously, independently, without human intervention, making decisions about the appropriateness, sequence and methods of destruction of objects and targets identified on the battlefield. This all fits, by the way, into the concept of network-centric hostilities that is being actively implemented in the United States.

In December 2013, the Pentagon released the Integrated Roadmap for the Development of Unmanned Systems for the Period 2013 – 2038, which formulated a vision for the development of robotic systems for 25 years ahead and determined the directions and ways to achieve this vision by the Department of Defense and the US industry.

There are interesting facts that allow us to judge where the work in this area of ​​our competitors are moving. In particular, in the United States Armed Forces, in the middle of 2013, 11 064 unmanned aerial vehicles of various classes and purposes were counted, of which 9765 belonged to the 1 group (tactical level mini-UAV).

The development of ground unmanned systems for the next two and a half decades, at least in the open version of the document, does not imply the creation of combat vehicles carrying weapons. The main efforts are focused on transport and logistics platforms, engineering machines, intelligence complexes, including the RCBR. In particular, work in the field of creating robotic systems for reconnaissance on the battlefield is concentrated in the period before 2015 – 2018 - on the project “Ultra light reconnaissance robot”, and after 2018 on the project “Nano / microrobot”.

Analysis of the allocation of funds for the development of robotic systems, the US Department of Defense indicates that 90% of all expenses go to the UAV, a little more than 9% - on the sea and about 1% - on the ground system. This clearly reflects the direction of concentration of the main efforts in the field of military robotics overseas.

Well, another crucial point. The problem of combat robots has some features that make this class of robots completely independent and separate. This needs to be understood. Military robots, by definition, have a weapon, and this is what distinguishes them from a wider class of military robots. The weapon is in the hands of the robot, even if the robot is under the control of the operator, a dangerous thing. We all know that sometimes even a stick shoots. The question is - who shoots? Who will give 100 percent guarantee that the robot control will not be intercepted by the enemy? Who guarantees the absence of a failure in the artificial "brains" of the robot and the impossibility of introducing viruses into them? Whose commands in this case, this robot will perform?

And if you imagine for a moment that such robots are in the hands of terrorists, for whom human life is nothing, not to mention a mechanical "toy" with a shahid belt.

Releasing gin from a bottle, you need to think about the consequences. And the fact that people do not always think about the consequences, says the growing worldwide movement to ban shock drone. Unmanned aerial vehicles with a complex of onboard weapons, controlled from the territory of the United States thousands of kilometers from the region of the Greater Middle East, bring death from heaven not only to terrorists, but also to unsuspecting civilians. Then the errors of the UAV pilots are attributed to collateral or accidental non-combat losses - that's all. But in this situation, at least there is someone specifically to ask for a war crime. But if robotic UAVs decide for themselves who to hit and who to leave to live - what will we do?

And yet progress in the field of robotics is a natural process, which no one can stop. Another thing is that now we need to take steps to internationally control work in the field of artificial intelligence and combat robotics.


Evgeniy Viktorovich Demidyuk - Candidate of Technical Sciences, Chief Designer of the “Kant Research and Production Enterprise” JSC

The Buran spacecraft has become a triumph of domestic engineering. Illustration from the American annual "Soviet military power", 1985 year

Without pretending to the truth in the final instance, I consider it necessary to clarify the widely used concept of “robot”, especially “combat robot”. The breadth of the technical means to which it is applied today is not quite acceptable for a number of reasons. Here are some of them.

The extremely wide range of tasks currently imposed on military robots (the listing of which requires a separate article) does not fit into the historically established notion of a “robot” as a machine, with its inherent human-like behavior. So "Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian language" S.I. Ozhegova and N.Yu. Shvedova (1995) gives the following definition: “A robot is an automatic machine that performs actions similar to human actions”. “Military Encyclopedic Dictionary” (1983) somewhat expands this concept, indicating that the robot is an automatic system (machine), equipped with sensors, actuators, capable of behaving purposefully in a changing environment. But it also indicates that the robot has a characteristic anthropomorphism - that is, the ability to partially or fully perform human functions.

“Polytechnical Dictionary” (1989) gives the following concept. "A robot is a machine with anthropomorphic (human-like) behavior that partially or fully performs human functions when interacting with the outside world."

A very detailed definition of a robot, given in GOST RISS 8373-2014, does not take into account the goals and objectives of the military field and is limited to the gradation of robots for functional purposes into two classes - industrial and service robots.

The concept of a “military” or “combat” robot, as a machine with anthropomorphic behavior, designed to harm a person, contradicts the original concepts given by their creators. For example, how do the three famous laws of robotics, first formulated by Isaac Asimov in 1942, fit into the concept of a “combat robot”? After all, the first law clearly states: “A robot cannot harm a person or by its inaction allow a person to be harmed”.

In this situation, one cannot but agree with the aphorism: the right name is the right thing to understand. From where it can be concluded that the notion of “robot”, so widely used in military circles, to designate cyber-technical means requires replacing it with a more appropriate purpose.

In our opinion, in the search for a compromise definition of machines with artificial intelligence created for military tasks, it would be reasonable to turn for help to technical cybernetics studying technical control systems. In accordance with its provisions, the correct definition for this class of machines would be the following: cybernetic combat (support) systems or platforms (depending on the complexity and volume of the tasks to be solved: complexes, functional units). You can enter the following definitions: cybernetic fighting machine (MSC) - for solving combat missions; cybernetic machine of technical support (KMTO) - for solving problems of technical support. Although more concise and convenient for use and perception, it may be just a "cyber" (combat or transport).

Another, no less relevant problem today is that with the rapid development of military robotic systems in the world, little attention is paid to proactive measures to control their use and to counteract such use.

There is no need to go far for examples. For example, the general increase in the number of uncontrolled flights of UAVs of various classes and purposes has become so obvious that it forces lawmakers around the world to pass laws on state regulation of their use.

The introduction of such legislation in a timely manner and due to:

- the availability of acquiring a “drone” and acquiring management skills for any student who has learned to read the operating and piloting instructions. At the same time, if such a student has minimal technical literacy, then he does not need to buy finished products: it is enough to purchase cheap components (engines, blades, supporting structures, receiving and transmitting modules, video cameras, etc.) through online stores and assemble the UAV without any registration;

- the lack of continuous daily controlled surface air environment (extremely low altitudes) over the entire territory of any state. The exceptions are the very limited area (across the country) of the airspace above airports, some parts of the state border, especially sensitive sites;

- Potential threats that carry "drones". One can argue indefinitely that a small-sized “drone” is harmless to others and is suitable only for video shooting or launch of soap bubbles. But progress in the development of weapons of destruction is unstoppable. Systems of self-organizing combat small-sized UAVs operating on the basis of swarm intelligence are already being developed. In the near future, this may have very complex consequences for the security of society and the state;

- the lack of a sufficiently developed legislative and regulatory framework governing the practical aspects of the use of UAVs. The presence of such rules will now allow narrowing the field of potential hazards from the “drone-free” in populated areas. In the same context, I would like to draw attention to the mass production of flying motorcycles driven in China, announced.

Along with the above, the lack of development of effective technical and organizational means of control, prevention and suppression of UAV flights, especially small ones, is of particular concern. When creating such means, it is necessary to take into account a number of requirements for them: firstly, the cost of countering threats must not exceed the cost of creating the threat itself, and secondly, the safety of the use of countermeasures of the UAV for the population (environmental, sanitary, physical and etc.).

Certain work to resolve this problem is underway. Of practical interest are developments in the development of a reconnaissance-information field in ground-level airspace through the use of illumination fields created by third-party radiation sources, for example, the electromagnetic fields of existing cellular networks. The implementation of this approach provides control over small airborne objects that fly near the ground and at extremely low speeds. Such systems are being actively developed in some countries, including Russia.

Thus, the domestic radio-optical complex “Rubezh” allows the formation of a reconnaissance-information field wherever the electromagnetic field of cellular communication exists and is available. The complex operates in a passive mode and does not require special permits for use, does not have a harmful unhygienic effect on the population and is electromagnetically compatible with all existing wireless gadgets. Such a complex is most effective in controlling UAV flights in surface airspace above populated areas, crowded areas, etc.

It is also important that the said complex is capable of ensuring control not only of airborne objects (from UAVs to light-engine sports aircraft at altitudes up to 300 m), but also ground (surface) objects.

The development of such systems should be given the same increased attention as the system development of various types of robotics.


Dmitry Sergeyevich Kolesnikov - Head of Autonomous Cars Service, Innovation Center KAMAZ LLC

Today we are witnessing significant changes in the global automotive industry. After the transition to the Euro-6 standard, the potential for improvement of internal combustion engines is practically exhausted. A new basis for competition in the automotive market is becoming the automation of transport.

If the introduction of autonomy technologies in the passenger car industry does not require explanations, then the question of why autopilot is needed for a truck is still open and requires an answer.

Firstly, safety, which entails the preservation of people's lives and the safety of goods. Secondly, efficiency, since the use of autopilot leads to an increase in the daily run to 24 hours of operation of the vehicle. Thirdly, productivity (increase in throughput of roads by 80 – 90%). Fourth, profitability, since the use of autopilot leads to a reduction in operating costs and the cost of one kilometer.

Unmanned vehicles are increasing their presence in our daily life every day. The degree of autonomy of these products is different, but the trend for complete autonomy is obvious.

Within the automotive industry, five stages of automation can be distinguished depending on the degree of decision making by a person (see table).

It is important to note that at the stages from “No automation” to “Conditional automation” (Stages 0 – 3), the functions are solved using the so-called driver assistance systems. Such systems are aimed fully at increasing traffic safety, while the stages of “High” and “Full” automation (Stages 4 and 5) are aimed at replacing people in technological processes and operations. At these stages, new markets for services and vehicle applications begin to form, the status of the vehicle changes from the product used to solve the task to a product that solves the task, that is, at these stages the partially autonomous vehicle is transformed into a robot.

The fourth stage of automation corresponds to the appearance of robots with a high degree of autonomous control (the robot informs the operator-driver about the planned actions, a person can influence his actions at any time, but in the absence of a response from the operator, the robot decides on its own).

The fifth stage is a completely autonomous robot, all decisions are made by him, a person cannot intervene in the course of decision making.

The current legal framework does not allow the use of robotic cars with 4 and 5 autonomy on public roads, and therefore the use of autonomous vehicles will begin in areas where it is possible to form a local regulatory base: closed logistics complexes, warehouses, internal territories of large factories, and also areas of increased danger to human health.

The tasks of autonomous transportation of goods and the implementation of technological operations for the commercial segment of cargo transportation are reduced to the following tasks: the formation of robotic transport columns, monitoring of gas pipelines, removal of rock from quarries, cleaning the area, cleaning the runways, transporting goods from one warehouse area to another. All these application scenarios pose to developers the task of using existing serial components and easily adaptable software for autonomous vehicles (to reduce the cost of 1 km of transportation).

However, the tasks of autonomous movement in an aggressive environment and in emergency situations, such as inspection and inspection of emergency zones for the purpose of visual and radiation-chemical monitoring, determining the location of objects and the state of technological equipment in the accident zone, identifying the location and nature of damage to emergency equipment, engineering works on clearing debris and dismantling of emergency structures, collection and transportation of hazardous objects in the area of ​​their disposal - require the developer olneniya special requirements in terms of reliability and durability.

In this regard, the electronic industry of the Russian Federation is faced with the task of developing a unified modular component base: sensors, sensors, calculators, control units for solving autonomous movement problems both in the civilian sector and when operating in difficult emergency situations.

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  1. ImPerts
    ImPerts 5 March 2016 06: 50
    Probably I'll watch the good old 1984 Terminator tonight. Inspired by the article.
    1. your1970
      your1970 5 March 2016 13: 01
      Why are they wearing gas masks and rubber gloves in the first photo? Chemistry?
      1. Nikoha.2010
        Nikoha.2010 5 March 2016 13: 33
        Quote: your1970
        Why are they wearing gas masks and rubber gloves in the first photo? Chemistry?

        Namesake, yes! hi Also drew attention. Just TB. Rockets with solid propellant rocket propellant rocket engine. All gunpowder is toxic. And to be honest, the hell knows them wink
        1. your1970
          your1970 5 March 2016 14: 10
          Toxic powder ?? did not know honestly (artillery filters with pasta lol poured on an urgent basis with bare hands), you need to read something on this subject
  2. bad
    bad 5 March 2016 07: 24
    nifigase opus! barely asil .. straight as the author sawed from a dissertation ..
    It is difficult to imagine any situation on the battlefield in which a robot android would be more effective than a professional soldier. Unless acting in conditions of radioactive contamination of the area ...
    ..only I can say this, give me time .. I remember when I was a child when I saw the first electronic clock I was in a stupor when I didn’t find a single gear after disassembling them .. laughing
    1. Beaver
      Beaver 5 March 2016 09: 11
      Quote: bad
      nifigase opus! barely asyl ..

      Many belay Seriously, everything is correct, competent, sensible, thanks. good With all due respect, I allow myself to advise the author for the future to break up the extensive material into several articles. hi Such volumes are best digested in parts. smile
      1. Sirocco
        Sirocco 5 March 2016 10: 01
        Quote: Castor
        Seriously, everything is correct, competent, sensible, thanks.

        Especially for such a huge country as ours, the country is huge, the population is small, in the event of an armed conflict, we can’t lose human resources, but robots created by people will do what they are supposed to do if something happens.
        Well, Buran, this is a swan song of the former USSR. good
  3. cte-power
    cte-power 5 March 2016 08: 19
    Article about Russia and the first photo Americans
  4. Nix1986
    Nix1986 5 March 2016 08: 23
    The simplest application and probably the most uncomplicated example is a light reconnaissance UAV such as a quadcopter for a platoon. It would be possible to carry out reconnaissance and target designation tasks more efficiently and without human casualties. Another example is a function support, of which I liked the supply UAV being developed in Israel. If Amazon wants to deliver iPhones without a courier by means of UAVs, then God himself ordered the supply of the army. I think the paratroopers or any groups operating in isolation from the supply bases really need such a novelty. No need to drive helicopters or transport aircraft to supply them, no need to risk human life to deliver a few zinc rounds or food. But about the autonomous use in battle - I strongly doubt that this is a matter of tomorrow. The whole thing is connected with the recognition procedures and the duration of battery life. Recognition neural networks now require large computing resources, and in terms of autonomy we do not have capacious power sources, in the same Tesla the share of the weight of batteries is about 25% and a not so great range is provided.
  5. Pvi1206
    Pvi1206 5 March 2016 09: 13
    The topic is complex, so there are few comments.
    At the present stage of the development of science and technology, the main problem remains the possible interception of control of smart weapons by the enemy. With all the ensuing consequences.
    As for the terminology, you should not wait until it settles down. Otherwise, we will stagnate. How many goals, so many opinions.
    1. Beaver
      Beaver 5 March 2016 09: 38
      Quote: Pvi1206
      Regarding terminology,

      the proposal to call combat robots cyber immediately reminded the airport of Donetsk. smile
    2. Beaver
      Beaver 5 March 2016 09: 50
      Quote: Pvi1206
      At the present stage of the development of science and technology, the main problem remains the possible interception of control of smart weapons by the enemy.

      Therefore, a combat robot must be either completely autonomous, or insured by a person directly.
      Although, if you think about it, at the present stage it is possible to intercept control not only by "smart weapons", but also by humans. The introduction of commands into the transmission channels, the substitution of false information for genuine information, and genuine orders with "fake" ones can completely disorient or disorganize troops on the battlefield. belay
  6. engineer
    engineer 5 March 2016 10: 33
    Do not forget. Buran acted in the absence of opposition and was not a robot, but an automaton. Those. a system with predetermined initial conditions and a rigidly determined transfer function. And if the landing strip is damaged? Or was it fired by anti-aircraft weapons? In a blizzard, artificial intelligence does not smell. So the robot will not be created before the creation of II.a means very soon. This problem is still at the initial levels of reflection. And before the theory and implementation ..... as to the stars.
    1. max702
      max702 5 March 2016 23: 25
      Quote: engineer
      Do not forget. Buran acted in the absence of opposition and was not a robot, but an automaton. Those. a system with predetermined initial conditions and a rigidly determined transfer function. And if the landing strip is damaged? Or was it fired by anti-aircraft weapons? In a blizzard, artificial intelligence does not smell. So the robot will not be created before the creation of II.a means very soon. This problem is still at the initial levels of reflection. And before the theory and implementation ..... as to the stars.

      The problem of AI, like many years ago, is in its infancy .. Alas, there is not even a theoretical understanding of what it is .. And from this follows the impossibility of creating a full-fledged AI, and therefore a robot .. There is NO progress in this direction! For 50 years already .. Well, we don’t even know ephemerally what it means to think. All that is a set of narrowly targeted algorithms and nothing more .. While a dead end .. We are waiting for some revolutionary discovery, and only then .. Although there is an opinion that the discovery of real AI will become his closing because it will develop orders of magnitude faster than the mind of "natural" origin, read the science fiction of the 50-60s there all this is considered in great detail ..
  7. Donskoi
    Donskoi 5 March 2016 11: 16
    For the Russian Federation, this direction is no less important than the development of the nuclear triad or hypersound. With such territories, the length of borders and wealth, this is understandable to anyone. So many challenges to the country - my head is spinning. I am glad that the work is underway. The question arises - when will all the robots do, where will the people / freeloaders / denut ?! Looks like "exceptional" and they are working on this in parallel. And progress cannot be stopped ...
  8. with
    with 5 March 2016 13: 05
    "Exceptional" with might and main use drones to hunt unwanted Pakistanis. Therefore -EW, and their autonomous systems. In computer games, UAVs and a combat robot on caterpillars are used with might and main. But Russia actually used such weapons in Syria. Of course, this is a different level of warfare. It works well for peaceful Bedouins. That is why the "exceptional" will never refuse to bomb all the unwanted in the Stone Age in order to use it to the fullest. impunity. Humanity has one chance if Russia will be ahead Usa development and the introduction of modern weapons. After all, contracts with the Americans are hardly worth the paper on which they are written. Wanted - poherili agreement on missile defense. Wanted - deceived the Indians (somewhere now they, who believed the Anglo-Saxons, ay!). Nothing personal just business.
  9. Indifferent
    Indifferent 5 March 2016 14: 02
    War robots are good only from the Papuans to defend themselves and the tribes of the Amazon. They have no electronic warfare and nuclear weapons.
    And these tools will leave all robots without control right on the battlefield. And they will become ordinary useless pieces of iron. We have not yet learned how to create electronics protected from interference and electromagnetic radiation.
    1. TOR2
      TOR2 5 March 2016 15: 38
      Quote: indifferent
      And these tools will leave all robots without control right on the battlefield.

      They will not stop everyone. With the help of electronic warfare, you can disable what flies. It is more difficult what drives, and even more difficult what crawls. For example, the hull of a tank is a natural "Faraday cage", and the massive walls of the hull also enhance its effect. And the equipment will need to be protected at the entrance.
      I recalled an interesting article in one of the print media, which described the tests of the T-55 anti-nuclear defense. In places where the crew is located, experimental animals were fixed. The T-55 equipment recognized the threat, stalled the tower, turned off the engine and blocked the air intakes. The blast wave dragged the T-55 several meters. After the danger had passed, the equipment of the tank brought it into working condition.
      The weakest link in the tank was living things. No, they all survived and later brought normal offspring. The problem is that the animals were in a state of shock after the explosion. One of the lambs generally screamed constantly. Unlike animals, people are well aware of what a nuclear explosion is, and the impact on the psyche will be even stronger.
  10. Tektor
    Tektor 5 March 2016 15: 37
    It seems to me that one of the most advanced types of robots should be sabotage robots. These should be small systems with a long battery life. While options are possible either with solar cells (photovoltaic) or with atomic (atomic battery). The essence of the system: to get to the object of sabotage, to establish observation and to pick up the moment of penetration into the object, step by step penetrating the boundaries of inaccessibility. Find a weak spot, and wait for the most favorable moment for sabotage. For example, mini-UAVs with solar cells deliver micro-UAVs with atomic batteries to their deployment points. The task of a micro-saboteur can be to get into a rocket, or to a data center, or any control computer of the defense system. The task is to disable at a critical moment. For a rocket, this is a prelaunch countdown ... A micro-robot can isolate certain substances that will react and destroy part of the boards and cables. For example, with a termite mixture or acid, or pour a shorting suspension into the connectors.
  11. Stilet
    Stilet 5 March 2016 16: 25
    Horror and tin! laughing
  12. Gunther
    Gunther 5 March 2016 18: 25
    Quote: Khamzatov
    ... "understanding" of artificial intelligence information
    about the environment ...

    Although "Eugene Gustman" (a software program created by Russian programmers) successfully passed the Turing test, in my opinion there is no "artificial intelligence" at the moment, there is a program that iterates over algorithms, which is quite enough for a combat robotic system - a motion control unit- route, identification of friend or foe, fire control, interaction with other robo.complexes of the "flock" type without a central operator.
  13. aiden
    aiden 6 March 2016 04: 11
    with the advent of robotic technology, the enemy will create units to combat it, with the aim of intercepting control, with subsequent use against their own. take the same drone, if the rail takes over it, then it will be dropped, drowned out, etc. As an example, you can still cite "Phobos-Grunt". Rumor has it that the Americans incapacitated him, and not the engineer who was made the last. Robotics will be useful in the Emergencies Ministry, nuclear power plants, sapper units, poisonous industries, but not in war
  14. foma2028
    foma2028 6 March 2016 10: 01
    Dmitry Peretolchin. "Google Monsters, Inc. and the digital dictatorship of the future"

    In my opinion, a rather interesting video, Google is not only a search engine, but also an electronic giant developing and applying methods and tools for organizing color revolutions. Google also buys companies for the development of components for autonomous combat avatar robots and develops artificial intelligence for robots that will allow robots to independently carry out combat operations in the right territories.