Research, Technology

Will combat robots be able to completely replace people in war

Robots are gradually entering all areashuman life. Even at home, many of us have various robotic devices, such as robotic vacuum cleaners, at work. Of course, not without the introduction of robots in the military sphere. However, people still fight in military conflicts, which sometimes leads to the loss of tens of thousands of lives. This begs the question, can robots completely replace humans in the future? Imagine a picture - robots are fighting among themselves, and somewhere in an open area, outside the cities, and people are just watching. Whose robots won, he won the war, and no more destroyed cities, civilian deaths, forced conscription and sending to the front.

Combat robots can theoretically replace humans in war, but what about in practice?

And robots lack the human factor.This means that they will abide by all the laws of war. In times of danger, robots will not scatter or leave the army, they will not start looting, terrorize the local population and commit other crimes.

Yes, and the capabilities of combat robots will be goodknown to the military leadership. This means that there is less likelihood of overestimating one's own forces and failures in military special operations, as happens when using manpower. You can list other advantages of combat robots for a long time. But how realistic is their use instead of people, or do they in themselves carry a danger to humanity? Let's try to understand this further.


  • 1 History of fighting robots
  • 2 Modern combat robots
  • Why combat robots won't replace humans soon
  • 4 Rise of the machines and other disadvantages of modern combat robots

History of combat robots

The idea of ​​using machines instead of people in war,appeared a long time ago. The first UAV was created in 1935 in the UK. The device had a remote control, could fly up to 5 km at a speed of 170 km/h. True, it was not quite a combat vehicle, since the drone was used only as a target in training.

The world's first reconnaissance drone AQM-34

The first drones that could performcombat reconnaissance tasks appeared in the USA in 1948. AQM-34 performed well in tests, and three years later they were put into mass production.

Near the end of the 1950s in US serviceAerojet SD-2 Overseer drones appeared, which were actively used in Vietnam and North Korea. In the Soviet Union, the first drone flew in 1963. Later, such unmanned reconnaissance aircraft as “Hawk”, “Swift” and “Flight” appeared. Of course, UAVs are not combat robots yet. However, their appearance marked the beginning of the use of machines in war instead of people.

Soviet UAV "Strizh"

Modern combat robots

Perhaps the most famous company thatdevelops robots, is Boston Dynamics. The project is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 2005, the company developed the four-legged fighting robot Big Dog. He could carry loads weighing up to 110 kg and move at a speed of 6.5 km / h. The robot even climbed a 35-degree slope. However, the project was closed, as experts considered the robot too noisy, which is unacceptable for the army.

Military four-legged robot Big Dog, which was never adopted

Boston Dynamics currently has overlight and advanced four-legged Spot robot. Also, a similar robot was created by Ghost Robotics. By themselves, these robots are not combat, the maximum that they are capable of is to patrol the streets and record violations. Therefore, in some police departments in the United States, they have already been recruited.

The situation in the field of application of robops has changedcompany S.W.O.R.D., which created the SPUR rifle. This accessory is designed specifically for four-legged robots, including the Vision-6 from Ghost Robotics. The rifle is equipped with a thermal camera with a 30x magnification, which allows the operator to detect any live targets. The rifle can be loaded with 6.5mm or 7.62mm cartridges. But these robots cannot be fully called military.

The most famous foreign robot, whichis truly military - it is MAARS, created by British engineers. It is designed for reconnaissance and surveillance. The robot is equipped with machine guns, four grenades and laser weapons. On board there is a loudspeaker, a fire detection system and a siren. The autonomy of the combat vehicle is 12 hours. The robot can work offline, but the decisions are made by the operator.

Fighting four-legged robot Vision-6, created by Ghost Robotics

Russia has its own developments.For example, the Uran-9 robot can support special forces and carry out reconnaissance. It is equipped with a 30 mm automated cannon, an anti-tank missile system, a coaxial machine gun, and a laser control system. "Uran-9" is capable of destroying tanks from a distance of up to 8 km.

Robotic complex "Nerekhta" on a caterpillarThe platform is a universal robot thanks to the modular system. It can be used for offensive and defensive combat operations, as well as reconnaissance and patrolling.

Military robot MAARS, created by British engineers

Self-propelled tracked steerable vehicle"Platform M" is designed for mining and demining the territory, it is also capable of being used for reconnaissance and hitting targets. The Argo complex is also considered promising, which can destroy enemy equipment, patrol the area and deliver cargo.

Of course, other countries also have robots. For example, the South Korean military deployed killer robots created by Samsung along the border with the DPRK, as we talked about earlier.

Why combat robots will not soon replace people

As we see, combat robots are becoming more activeare being introduced into the army, and the list of tasks that they solve is expanding all the time. This is not surprising, as mentioned above, modern robots make it possible to more effectively solve some combat missions. However, we are interested not only in their application, but in the complete replacement of people by robots.

Apparently, the massive introduction of robotsruns into several problems. Industrial robots, which are being actively introduced in industries, are designed to replace heavy and monotonous manual labor. Thus, they improve production efficiency and reduce production costs.

Russian military robot Uran-9

In the case of the use of combat robots, the situationon the contrary, they should replace highly qualified specialists. In addition, the risk of losing a robot infantryman is unjustified. High-tech equipment may end up in the hands of the enemy, which is highly undesirable. But it's not just about the danger of equipment falling into the hands of the enemy. It would be possible to introduce a self-destruction system into each robot.

Perhaps the main problem associated with massthe introduction of military robots - their high cost. After all, robots, unlike people, "women still do not give birth." No matter how cynical it may sound, accounting plays an important role in war.

Rise of the machines and other disadvantages of modern combat robots

Modern robots can be divided into three maintypes: fully remotely controlled, semi-autonomous, which can act independently, but all decisions are made by the operator, and fully autonomous.

Given the current pace of war, robotsof the future, in order for them to completely replace people, they must act completely automatically. To do this, they must be able to analyze the mistakes made, gain experience and learn on their own.

Recently, the impetus for the emergence of completelyautonomous machines was the development of neural self-learning networks. However, they are still not perfect enough to work fully automatically. Therefore, they are only suitable for helping people, but not for fighting on their own.

With the advent of fully autonomous combat robots, the “rebellion of the machines” may become a reality

But, even if AI allows you to create completelyautonomous machines, their use is associated with serious danger. In 2020, during the conflict in Libya, the Turkish unmanned quadcopter Kargu-2, operating offline, detected the enemy and struck at him. That is, there is already a precedent for the destruction of people by AI.

This caused a backlash from activists.In the event of a software error, innocent people may die. Many companies involved in the development of robots, as well as human rights organizations, wrote an open letter to the UN Convention, which demanded a ban on the development and use of autonomous robots.

Anyone who has seen the Terminator moviesimagines how the large-scale use of autonomous robots could end. Therefore, according to many experts, militarized robots should operate exclusively under the control of the military. Their independent work must be excluded.

UAV Bayraktar TB2, which has shown its effectiveness in several military conflicts

Fully controlled and semi-autonomous robotsalso have one big minus - the need for radio communication with the operator. This means that they are vulnerable to electronic warfare. Electronic warfare is in service with almost every army in the world. They can simply cut off the connection between the robot and the operator. In addition, the radio signal may be lost due to some terrain features.

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There are currently no reported casesthe use of combat robots in war, with the exception of drones. The most sensational in recent years has been the Turkish strike operational-tactical medium-altitude UAV Bayraktar TB2. It has shown high efficiency in several military conflicts.

From the foregoing, it follows that there can be no talk of any battle of machines instead of people in the near future. However, the massive use of robots for military purposes is a matter of time.