Similar to the world of industrial and commercial robotics, the catalyst for defense robots came from the need to help carry out tasks that were too “dull, dirty, and dangerous” for soldiers. For the Military, in particular, addressing the dangerous tasks led to the development of such technologies like guided and unguided munitions, unmanned ground vehicles (UGV’s), and aerial drones capable of targeting and surveillance. Unmanned systems designed for security and defense purposes are called “defense robots,” and here are some of the ways they keep our military safe.
Exoskeletons and Defense Robotics
Defense robotics belongs to a subcategory of service robotics, and their purpose is two-fold. Firstly, defense robots mitigate the risks of danger by operating either independently or in tandem with a person, or in the case of exoskeletons, functioning as an extension to a person.
Exoskeletons are a breakthrough technology in the world of defense robotics. By conforming to the body, the framework can enhance soldiers' strength, speed, and endurance. With strategically placed sensors around the suit, metrics like speed, direction, and angles of movement can be processed by a computing counterpart, allowing the suit to appropriately respond to the solider.
The US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center initiated a project in which they invested nearly $7 million into the research and evaluation of exoskeleton technology, so it is safe to speculate that the military considers this to be a promising solution. Lockheed’s Onyx and Raytheon/Sarcos’ XOS2 are just a couple of examples of this emerging technology, and possibly of what’s to come in the future.
Unmanned Vehicles and Defense Robotics
The second purpose of defense robots is to operate as an extension to soldiers, augmenting their discernment, physical capabilities, and decision making. From autonomous vehicles and surveillance to 3D mapping and navigation – the capabilities and applications for unmanned systems in the military are endless.
It is not uncommon for military operations to take place in unstable environments. The obvious advantage of integrating an unmanned vehicle into operation is the safety of the soldier now at a distance from conflict. AeroVironment is an example of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and with it, and its route can be programmed or controlled by a single person, whether in a stable or conflict zone. As is common with unmanned vehicles, its data collection capabilities make it an asset in any technology workflow. From a single controller, a team can survey an environment, 3D map a terrain, and engage in combat – all from a safe distance.
Lockheed Martin’s Desert Hawk III and Shield.AI’s Nova are just a few of the life-saving robotic solutions the military has pursued in order to equip its soldiers to remain safe during their operations. To learn more robotic solutions in the world of security and defense, please visit tomahawkrobotics.com/kinesis/.