One of the most dangerous jobs is to be a soldier: Walking on minefields, defusing bombs, cleaning enemy areas are good examples of this fact. But if we could sent a machine instead of humans, we could save the life or health our human soldiers.
Today, advanced armies have made robots for all jobs that a human can do on the battle ground. In this post we will see how some of the most famous types of war robots work:
First of all, you should know that military robots are not like the ones you see in films; they do not look like humans at all. A robot is any kind of machine that is completely or partly controlled by a computer and their shape depends on what their job is. Some robots look like tanks, some like airplanes, some are as big as a truck and some robots are as small as a tiny insect.
But today’s robots, especially the ones we use in the army, do not use Artificial Intelligence just because this technology has not progressed enough to be used in war. Most military machines are controlled by humans but from a far safe spot. That’s why we call them UGVs (Unmanned Ground Vehicles) or UAVs. Now can you guess what the second one stand for?
There is also one more thing about war robots and that is they should be carried by a soldier to the battlefield and that can be considered the weak point of them.
These are small, flat robots with many different sensors and even a camera, microphone and weapons. They can go nearly everywhere, but there is a problem: all are man-portable. The TALON is one of them. It is 45 kg. It is very durable and does not stop working even after hits or under water. They have been used for audio and video listening and also for search and rescue and defusing explosive devices. Recently, the TALON has more equipment like chemical, gas, temperature, and radiation sensors as well as machine guns. In the future, they want to add grenade launchers and anti-tank rocket launchers.
These man-portable robots are smaller that TALON. They have a GPS system, compass, and temperature sensors. The speed is not bad: 13 kilometers in an hour. Nothing happens to them if the fall on a hard surface from the height of about 2 meters. U.S soldiers use Packbot to search inside a building and see the enemy soldiers with the help of audio and video sensors. They can also be used for disarming or even exploding dangerous explosives. Packbots can easily right themselves and and climb objects.
Basically, this robot is like other small ones, but the only difference is the triangular shape. With only the weight of 28 kg, it can be equipped with many different devices and arms and has the power of carrying a small trailer. The speed is 1 meter per second and can work on its battery for 4-6 hours.
Now let’s take a look at some larger military robots which are more like tanks with computers:
It is as big as a bulldozer and can do many tough jobs like clearing a place of explosives like anti-personnel mines, clearing obstacles, pulling vehicles (even a bus) and working as a weapons platform. ACER is a good firefighter and “decontaminator”, too. This 2-ton robot can move as fast as 10 kph.
RAAS and ARV
These big heavy robots are to be used in the U.S Army. They are send to the war zone by aircrafts and can carry and fire up to 1 ton of armors like chain guns or short range missiles.
Now flying robots’ turn:
These robots, called UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or drones, are for searching and getting information for the military base.
RQ-4A Global Hawk
Global Hawk Specifications
Length: 13.53 m
Wingspan: 35.42 m
Height: 4.64 m
Weight empty: 6,710 kg
Weight max: 11,600 kg
Speed: 648 kph
Ceiling: 19,800 m
Range: 21,720 km
Endurance: 36 hours
Getting information is very important in wars. These drones are perfect for this: They have eyes on both friendly forces and the enemy. Also, predators can give other data to soldiers like weather and other movements on earth and fire missiles to take out ground targets if necessary.
Here one thing might sound a little worrying and that is what if a robot gets out of control and starts behaving dangerously or decides by its own?!
Well the answer is that military robots are not “self-controlled” and must be connected to human controllers at least for now because AI technology has not progressed to that extent.