Autonomous Robotic vehicles to enter war business
June 27, 2008
The Mule (a multifunctional utility/logistics and equipment), an armed robot the size of a Humvee, is Lockheed Martins machine which is capable of firing Javelin anti-tank missiles, featuring a turret-mounted machine gun, coupled with a digital eyeball with laser heat recognising and target acquisition systems in order to aim it’s weaponry with precision.
It uses GPS to navigate, has localised perception to enable it to avoid obstacles like buildings, and it’s versatility is enhanced by it’s six wheels on pneumatic legs to scale cars and barriers.
The Mule is destined to be shipped to conflict hotspots and the US government also plans to use them to clear minefields.
The military use of robotic systems is now widespread with thousands having been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, to conduct renaissance and disarm explosives, whilst also engaging in a futuristic kind of warfare. These uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) are reportedly being used to fire on insurgents. Clearly this kind of technology has the ability to outmaneovre and overpower enemy combatants.
Autonomous robot vehicles are however still by and large in the experimental phase with tactical decision making still requiring a human factor posing obvious challenges.