Robot tech isn’t new to the military world, as it can perform various combat roles such as rescue tasks, explosive disarmament, fire support, reconnaissance, logistics support, lethal combat duties, and more. The use of robotics for military operations took off in the 1990s when the MQB-1 Predator drone was used by the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA).
Since then, robotics tech, as well as artificial intelligence, has evolved a lot. According to a report from MarketResearch, The global military robots market was valued at $17,556.51 million in 2020 and is projected to reach $34,618.14 million in 2030, registering a CAGR of 7.4%.
Robots That Make Military Look Weak
However, some robots even have the capabilities to outperform human soldiers and can be used as more efficient alternatives.
List of some robots that make the military look weak.
- THeMIS Military Robot
- Dragon Runner 20
- Bigdog & Spot
- PD 100 Black Hornet
- Chinese Robot Boat JARI USV
1. THeMIS Military Robot
Let’s start with an unmanned ground vehicle, the TheMIS UAG, that has the capability to surpass every ground effortlessly. This military vehicle is already proven and is currently being used in the anti-insurgency mission Operation Barkhane in Mali.
Designed for Air transportability, the TheMIS comes with a unique modular design, and can easily be transported via helicopters. And, the UAG itself has a maximum payload capacity of 1200 kg. No matter how tough and extreme the ground gets, this vehicle is built to conquer them all with a max speed of 25 kilometers per hour.
To give you an idea of how powerful TheMIS is, you can literally pull a tank with this compact machine. Besides, controlling this armed vehicle is pretty convenient, and with a fully loaded tank, it can run for up to 15 hours. Currently, the THeMIS is owned by 11 countries, 7 of which are members of NATO, including Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, and the US.
Apart from Samsung being a tech giant in smartphones and other electronics, the company is also involved in creating autonomous robots, and one of their robots is currently being used by the south Korean military for surveillance, the SGR-A1.
These sub-machine gun robots were placed in the south Korean borer as an all-weather autonomous sentry, each of which cost around $200,000. The SGR-A1 has built-in speakers and microphones so that friendly soldiers can deactivate the weapons.
However, for unrecognized individuals, this robot starts an audible alarm, followed by nonlethal rubber bullets, followed by lethal metal bullets. As for the range, the machine can track and identify humans, animals, or objects within 2.5 miles, and the advanced AI helps to make suitable decisions without being operated by any human.
3. Dragon Runner 20
Next comes, another unmanned ground robot, The Dragon Runner 20. Being compact in size, this robot can easily sneak into congested places. Besides, DR20 is also pretty lightweight weighing only 20 pounds, yet features a rugged and flexible design.
You can single-handedly carry the machine and deploy it anywhere. The main purpose of this small robot is to provide situational awareness, protect against unwanted circumstances, and also capable of interrogating when needed.
So, for security, and inspection under congested areas, the dragon runner 20 is a perfect choice.
4. Bigdog & Spot
Anyone having an interest in the robotics world certainly has heard the name Boston dynamics. The company is well known for manufacturing high-end robots with the most advanced AI, and Spot is one of them.
Build to explore without boundaries, the spot is the ultimate guy for inspecting areas and capturing countless data. It can sense objects around it and find its path to desired destinations.
Moreover, whether it’s a flat road or stairs, this robot can climb up or down easily. Besides, even with such a compact size, Spot can carry up to 14 Kg of inspection equipment, making it a great robot for military usage.
5. PD 100 Black Hornet
In modern battlefields, threats can be hidden everywhere, and to identify all of them, the PD 100 Black hornet comes into play. Though drones have been used for military purposes for quite some time, no other drone is as compact and effective as the black hornet.
With this flier, you can minimize collateral damage by detecting threats around the combat zone. Besides, it has extraordinarily low visuals, and its small profile allows you to have stealth operations while ensuring full safety for dismounted soldiers.
Weighing less than 33 grams, and with a diameter of 168 mm, the PD 100 black hornet helps to spot your enemies before they would even realize it.
Powerful, advanced, and combat-ready, that’s what MAARS stands for. A Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System, to be specific. Being very popular on the battlefields, MAARS is designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition, which increases the security of personnel manning forward locations.
You can let this robot go forward, and maintain a safe distance to effectively execute security missions such as ambushes, hostage rescue, forced entry, booby-trapped areas, detainee riots, site security, and IED.
It has multiple safety features along with a Hostile fire and localization system, a loud warning siren, and many more to keep the soldiers safe.
7. Chinese Robot Boat JARI USV
Enough about ground vehicles, it’s time for unmanned warship boats to conquer the seas. China first announced such an unmanned vehicle called Jari, and it is equipped with various advanced equipment, making it a lethal weapon in any war.
It features phased array radar, variable-depth sonar, satellite communications, and electro-optical systems. Dimension-wise, the boat is 15 meters long and has a width of 4.8 meters.
The boat is powered by a water jet, and you can reach up to 78 km per hour speed and has a range of around 925 km. As for the weapon, the vehicle features a 30mm automatic gun, anti-ship missiles, and two external launchers for light torpedoes.
The next robot on our list is surely going to be loved by the start war fans. The LS3 is another legged creation from Boston dynamics that mainly works as a support system and can carry external loads quite efficiently.
This packed mule can walk through any surface, and serve a variety of functions in any war. Not only can it carry necessary survival items, but also weapons needed for the battlefield.
Though you might find it wobbly, this robot can balance itself quite well, keeping your carried items safe. Besides, the LS3 can track visual and voice commands and use GPS to guide itself along the way. And, you can control this robot within a 32 km range. And, the best part is, LS3 holds the maximum speed record among the legged robots.
Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light, in short RCV-L, is a small and expandable unmanned vehicle that is intended for reconnaissance. the RCV-L can be controlled by a soldier or can be operated semi-automatically with the help of programmed routes.
It even has open system architecture robotic control systems that deliver improved payload capabilities and flexibility. This autonomous vehicle weighs under 10 tons and has a maximum payload capacity of 3.5 tons. Furthermore, for the combat system, the RCV-L is equipped with a remote turret as well as high-resolution 360-degree situational awareness cameras and sensors.
Whereas a small drone system can be used for aerial reconnaissance while the vehicle stays at a safe distance. With a proper combination of manned and unmanned troops like RCV-L, militaries can certainly have a greater advantage on Warfield.
Talking about the most advanced AI tech in robotics comes a research platform called Atlas which came up with the most dynamic humanoid robot that’ll give even the most veteran of the military a serious challenge.
With an advanced control system and state-of-the-art hardware, Atlas provides their robots the power and balance to compete with any human at their peak performance, even outperforming them at some point.
Atlas equipped these robots with one of the world’s most compact mobile hydraulic systems, a custom battery, and a hydraulic power unit that enables them to deliver immense power to any of their 28 hydraulic joints, while the advanced control system and algorithms help these robots to understand and interact with a complex dynamic environment to always plan one step ahead.
All these AI robots, and unmanned vehicles might keep you thinking, what if robotic tech becomes powerful enough to actually extinguish humans as we have seen on iRobot or Terminator? What are your thoughts on these robots?