Future of war? Robots replace soldiers to clear enemy obstacles during a 'historic' military exercise
Wars of the future will be carried out largely by robots.
In a step towards that scenario, machines have been used to in place of people during a joint UK-US military breaching exercise.
Human soldiers watched unmanned tanks clear an area for landmines and bridge a gap over obstacles in an exercise with remote controlled tanks.
It's the first time robots have been used for this purpose.
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Human soldiers watched unmanned tanks clear an area for landmines and bridge a gap over obstacles. The training exercise showed the capabilities of remote controlled vehicles, which could greatly reduce the risk to military personnel in hostile environments
The exercise was carried out as part of the Robotic Complex Breach Concept demonstration, held at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany.
It aimed to test the effectiveness of using unmanned systems for one of the most dangerous assignments: clearing breaches on the battlefield.
In the exercise, M1A2 Abrams tanks provided cover fire and UK Terrier engineering vehicles cleared a simulated minefield and bridged a tank trench.
American officer, lieutenant Cody Rothschild said: 'We did a robotic breach today, which has never been done before. This is a historic moment.
'This is a great step forward for the Army, and for robotics.'
Breaching enemy obstacles can be extremely dangerous and often leaves soldiers exposed to enemy forces.
- US and UK military demonstrated working remote controlled tanks
- The machines were unmanned and controlled by soldiers inside other vehicles
- The tanks cleared mines in the simulation and also breached enemy objects
British warrant officer Robert Kemp said: 'Any breach like this will have enemy weapons trained in on the area.
'Robotising breach operations takes away the risk of life and makes clearing enemy obstacles much safer.'
As part of the Robotic Complex Breach Concept demonstration, held at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, troops watched as tanks were controlled remotely
The demonstration was designed to show the immediate benefits that robotics can have in the battlefield and how they can be used to keep soldiers safe
The team fitted existed vehicles them with robotic controls that allowed them to be driven by soldiers from the safety of a nearby vehicle.
'It keeps us safe from being out there like sitting ducks,' said private Jonathon Ramirez.
Soldiers were in a separate vehicle controlling the tank that was being used to bridge the tank trench remotely. Normally, this job is done by troops on foot and leaves them exposed to enemy attacks
Using existing vehicles and technology, the international team fitted them with robotics that allowed them to be controlled by soldiers from the safety of a nearby vehicle
The demonstration received widespread praise form soldiers in attendance who said that the advancements will vastly reduce the risk to life
'As an engineer, this means a lot to me,' said lieutenant Felix Derosin, a platoon leader.
'The casualty rate for a breach is expected to be 50 per cent. Being able to take our guys away from that, and have some robots go in there, is a very positive thing for us.
'In the future, this can save engineers' lives.'
In the exercise, M1A2 Abrams tanks provided fire and UK Terrier engineering vehicles cleared a simulated minefield and bridged a tank trench
Breaching enemy obstacles can be extremely dangerous and often leaves soldiers exposed to enemy forces. Remote controlled vehicles are not expected to replace soldiers, but to aid and protect them against necessary exposure
Despite the early days of the technology, soldiers are excited about the long term implications.
'When I first came in, I didn't expect to be seeing robots doing (combat operations) like this. Being able to see it, eyes on, shows me what the future is going to be like, and it's pretty good,' lieutenant Derosin said.
The security and safety of troops is paramount to the armed forces, and the use of robotics could revolutionise warfare in the future.
'Being able to take soldiers out of harm's way and accomplish the mission is very an attractive option to any commander,' said US lieutenant colonel Jesse Curry.
'It's a capability that the enemy will not know how to counteract when we implement it. This type of technology enables us to stretch further while conserving resources.'
Several branches of the US military have been involved in tests of autonomous and tele-operated systems in the past year, according to ZDNet.
The Marines have also been testing robotic platforms for use in beach landings.
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Experts predict AI 'ghost ships' and battlebots are the future of the US military
Increased automation in the workforce has caused many to fear their jobs will soon be taken over by robots – and, experts now warn even the military will be affected by the shift.
The use of robots could help the US military to cut costs and would allow them to remove soldiers from potentially dangerous environments, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Experts say the move has already begun in many ways, with newer warships like the USS Zumwalt designed to be manned by half the crew of previous destroyers, and Navy researchers experimenting with ‘ghost fleets’ of underwater drones.
- Experts say the use of robots could help the US military to cut costs over time
- And, it could allow them to remove soldiers from dangerous environments
Newer ships like the USS Zumwalt are designed to have smaller crews
Experts point to current technologies that already aim to reduce the number of human operators, such as the guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt. It carries 147 sailors, half that of similar warships, and deploys up to three MQ-8 Fire Scout drone helicopters (pictured)
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Robots could take on a number of tasks, from managing and delivering supplies or analyzing thousands of legal documents, to quickly diagnosing diseases and assisting in the operating room, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
‘Just as in the civilian economy, automation will likely have a big impact on military organizations in logistics and manufacturing,’ Michael Horowitz, a University of Pennsylvania professor and an expert on weaponized robots told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
‘The US military is very likely to pursue forms of automation that reduce ‘back-office’ costs over time, as well as remove soldiers from non-combat deployments where they might face risk from adversaries on fluid battlefields, such as in transportation.’
Robots could also be used to detect and dismantle mines.
Horowitz also points to current technologies that already aim to reduce the number of human operators, such as the guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt.
The ship carries 147 sailors, half that of similar warships, and deploys up to three MQ-8 Fire Scout helicopters, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Experts say the move has already begun in many ways, with newer warships like the USS Zumwalt (pictured) designed to be manned by half the crew of previous destroyers, and Navy researchers experimenting with ‘ghost fleets’ of underwater drones
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Recent reports have shown that the use of robots and artificial intelligence in the workplace is expected to grow rapidly in coming years.
A report from the White House published in December warned that machines could soon replace millions of human workers.
Less-skilled workers are likely to be hit the hardest, which could cause an even greater divide of wealth inequality.
Recent reports have shown that the use of robots and artificial intelligence in the workplace is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. A stock image is pictured
But, the report also suggests AI could improve the country's productivity growth, which would result in higher wages and fewer work hours.
'These transformations will open up new opportunities for individuals, the economy, and society, but they have the potential to disrupt the current livelihoods of millions of Americans,' the report states.
'Whether AI leads to unemployment and increases in inequality over the long-run depends not only on the technology itself but also on the institutions and policies that are in place.'
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There will be more robot soldiers than humans fighting for the US military by 2025, expert claims
- Pentagon has awarded an $11 million contract to build a ‘combined-arms squad’
- These combine human and robotic capability, with expected completion by 2019
- Experts say Army could have more robots than human soliders in next decades
Royal Navy submarines 'could launch drones beneath the water to spy on Russian boats around British coast'
- Numbers of subs sent by the Kremlin to UK waters are now similar to the levels seen in the Cold War
- Royal Navy submarines could soon launch drones from beneath the waves to spy on Russian boats around the British coast
- The cameras can spy from the sky for two-and-a-half hours and travel at up to
Fleet of Russian submarine drones could cripple Britain by cutting vital phone and web cables, warns head of the Armed Forces
- Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said cables on sea bed vulnerable to Putin
- Fears Russia has the capability to tap, disrupt and sever underwater cables
- They link our internet and phone networks to the rest of the world's systems
- Sir Stuart said the Navy was now prioritising missions 'to protect the sea lines'
How underwater warfare could look in 2051: UK students design futuristic submarines controlled by THOUGHT for Royal Navy challenge
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- Designs were conceived by a group of young British engineers and scientists
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Navy combat ships set to receive a major makeover after being criticized as 'unlikely to survive being hit during war'
- US Navy's Littoral Combat Ships aren't expected to survive in a hostile combat environment, according to the Government Accountability Office
- The ships are getting a massive makeover as part of the 2019 military budget
- The NAVY is now considering making larger versions of the warships
- New ships will be equipped with improved weapons to fend off suicide ships, clear mines and spot and attack enemy sumbarines
United States Department of Defense plans to develop TWO new sea-based nuclear weapons as China and Russia amp up their arsenals
- The Pentagon is planning to develop two new sea-based nuclear weapons
- New Defense Department strategy calls for a readjustment of prior nuclear plans
- One weapon is a warhead that is used with a Trident Missile and the second is a nuclear-tipped cruise missile
- The adjustment comes in response to Chinese and Russian military threats