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The future of robots in the defence industry

Written by

Neil Martin

Neil Martin

Robots will play an increasingly important part in the development of the military over the coming decades. 

Western Governments especially are always keen to control their defence budgets and large standing armies, navies and air forces are a thing of the past except for the major superpowers. Most countries worry about protecting their borders and fighting terrorism, rather than projecting their power via their military on a worldwide stage. 

Currently, robots are being used to help with many of the dangerous tasks being carried out by humans and with logistics. So the disarming of bombs, rescue and firefighter missions are all the areas of expertise for robots. This will continue to be the major trend over the coming years. Logistics is also a huge area for robots, as remember that saying, armies march on their stomachs, well, all that food and equipment has to be constantly on the move, or stored. So automated mobile robots are going to play a vital role in how an army, navy, or air force moves its gear around. 

Then is the slightly thorny issue of robot front line infantry, sailors and pilots. Humans and warfare don’t go well together. Humans are vulnerable bits of flesh and muscle which don’t stand up to explosions and bullets. So, logically, a metal robot is a good replacement, yet, as human societies, how will we deal with the ethical question of having robot combatants? 

But, whether we like it, or not, once one country uses robots to instigate warfare, the others will have to follow. On that you can bet your last dollar. 



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