The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is working on a project to develop ‘robotic soldiers’ that will have the ability to interact with other soldiers and take decisions. The prototype of such a robot will be completed in this decade. DRDO’s laboratory Research Development Establishment will be the primary nodal agency for this project.
This was revealed in the 3-day international conference on advances in robotics that began in the city yesterday.
DRDO chief Avinash Chander (in pic), also the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, said, “A robotic soldier involves integration of a large number of technologies. We have already achieved the capability of a robot, which is controlled manually and fires on order. Its range is one kilometre but we need to scale up its capability.”
“Our next step is to make a robot that can take decisions after generating imagery. We are also trying to develop a robotic soldier that can complete group intelligence activities within a decade. We also need to develop miniaturised communication and actuation systems with automatic target recognition systems.” Chander said.
“The US army is planning to have one third of their armed ground vehicles as unmanned by 2015. We also have placed a strong emphasis on robotic technologies in military operations. Integration with academia and industry is very important to make this happen,” he added.
When questioned about the delay in product development, Chander said, “The DRDO has a budget of Rs 300 crore dedicated to research. Hence, funding is not an issue as far as robotics’ projects are concerned. Our products take time to deliver but they are contemporary for example the Aakash missile project. In fact our product development cycle times are coming down to a few years.”
Five qualities of ‘Robotic Soldiers’
1: Manually controlled
2: Generate imagery and then take decisions
3: Flexible multiple actuators
4: Group soldier interaction
5: Distinguish between threat and non-threat.
– Avinash Chander, DRDO chief