Robots take to the field
ARMY has taken a step closer to making the interaction with robots a regular occurrence for soldiers in the field.
Land Capability Division’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO) has trialled small remotely guided ground robots, known as RGVs, with 1, 2 and 3 Combat Engineer Regiments.
The purpose of the four-week trial was to assess at unit-level the potential of RGVs to enhance situational awareness for Force Elements, particularly in confined spaces, areas contested by unmanned aerial systems, or in GPS-denied environments.
Director RICO Col Robin Smith said Army continues to move forward with disruptive technology.
“The use of small robots is an important step in our goal of harnessing cutting-edge technology in order to be ready to face whatever challenges are heading towards us,” Col Smith said.
The evaluation was conducted throughout November through a “learn by doing” approach, with RGVs being employed in the full range of combat functions and directed tasks, to examine their utility, force protection and efficiency compared to existing surveillance and reconnaissance methods.
CO 3CER Lt-Col Ken Golder said robotics was a very real game-changer for the way Army will do business and fight in the future.
“Robots will have a big influence on how we operate, such as helping to keep soldiers out of harm’s way,” Lt-Col Golder said.
“That’s one of the big advantages we will reap, through greater situational awareness coupled with improved force protection.”
The month-long testing and evaluation trial was held in combination with routine training activities across the full range of combat functions and directed tasks, to examine the RGVs’ capability relating to force protection, and efficiencies compared to existing surveillance and reconnaissance methods.
Testing and evaluation included dense vegetation and dead ground, which inhibits UAS use, along with culverts and tunnels, plus deception, reconnaissance and demonstration tasks.
The evaluation identified potential user case scenarios, and will inform user requirements of future robotic and autonomous systems being considered by Land Programs.
The evaluation also demonstrated potential TTPs using RGVs, and demonstrated potential future operational force structures that will be required, particularly in terms of skills, training and workforce considerations necessary to employ the systems.
Article Written by Sqn-Ldr John Yialeloglou and published in Army News Edition 1503, published on December 09, 2021.