Artificial Intelligence: AI-Controlled Robot Tanks Soon

Robot tanks will soon enter the battlefield. Using AI, their operators will command the robots to perform surveillance, acquire targets, even fire weapons.

The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is working on a project to control unmanned robotic vehicles using an AI-powered interface. These “forward operating” vehicles would perform a variety of functions in response to commands from a manned vehicle such as a tank. (THE NATIONAL INTEREST)

Using AI, such a “wingman” advance scout vehicle will identify an enemy target that would otherwise be extremely well camouflaged. After identifying the target the robot could also survey the surroundings and collect relevant data. This data would be invaluable in mounting an attack on the enemy.

Robotic, “real-life” sized vehicles

“For the first time the Army will deploy manned tanks that are capable of controlling robotic vehicles able to adapt to the environment and act semi-independently,” said Dr. Brandon Perelman, Scientist and Engineer, Army Research Laboratory, Combat Capabilities Development Command, Army Futures Command. “Manned vehicles will control a number of combat vehicles, not small ones but large ones. In the future we are going to be incorporating robotic systems that are larger, more like the size of a tanks.”

The ARL is now working on incorporating such vehicles in the military’s Next Generation Combat Vehicles.

New manned-unmanned teams to change the rules of battle

War commanders will now have many more strategic options in battle through the deployment of such joint manned+unmanned vehicles.

“Everything that a soldier does today…. Shooting, moving, communicating.. Will be different in the future because you do not just have human to human teammates, you have humans working with AI-teammates,” Perelman said.

These AI-teammates can multitask many battlefield imperatives such as collecting and organizing information, its analysis, and identifying solutions. Importantly, they can do this much, much faster than their human colleagues.

Besides, the AI-vehicles are expendable.

“You can take risks you would never do with a manned platform. A robotic system with weapons does not need to account for crew protection,” Perelman said.

These soldier+drone systems also enable a combat force that is more dispersed, may be strategically superior and be less vulnerable to enemy fire.

These teams also have the effect of expanding the battlefield, and at the same reducing the number of soldiers needed on a given mission.

Related Story:    Artificial Intelligence: The Pentagon Adopts Five AI Principles

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