The Rise of Robots
How will protection be measured going into the future and what place do robotics hold in it?
Armoured Vehicle Protection has historically been dependent on vehicle design and weight. There are armour and material developments taking place that may enable greater protection from less weight. We will see a growing use of autonomous systems such as active protection that increase the level of vehicle protection without adding to the weight; they may however require more size, power, and perhaps cooling.
We measure armour protection in terms of rolled homogenous armour equivalency (RHA-e). We are starting to see autonomous active blast defeat which can be measure in terms of mass equivalency (Me).
How can autonomy increase operational effectiveness?
The organisation of army formations in the future will feature autonomous robotic platforms that can deliver solutions not achievable by current formations. The usefulness of robotics and automation has already been demonstrated in the commercial and civilian sector, with technologies such as AI-driven cars forecasted to hit our roads in the coming years. The civilian sector benefits from more data-rich environments, fewer constraints (such as armour and armaments) and conversely, fewer expenses; the challenge is now to integrate these commercial initiatives into defence formations.
Who is leading the way forward in robotics and autonomous systems?
The commercial sector, both in the US and internationally, is leading the way into the future for robotics and autonomous systems. Specific military applications are a very small percentage of the total amount of money being spent on robotics across the world.
Militaries and defence industries need to leverage the commercial investment and focus their resources on specific military applications such as cross country manoeuvre.
The entry point for robotic innovation is getting lower across the world. The US government is currently reaching out to non-traditional industry to come up with solutions and actionable technology to help our small units be more effective, such as our recent Cross Domain Challenge initiative, among others.
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