Robots Are At War With Each Other

By April Ryder | Published

robot soldier

In Ukraine’s ongoing battle against Russian invaders, an influx of robots adds a new element to the war. Now, nearly a year into the fight for their country, the fight between Ukranian and Russian soldiers is changing. 

Ukraine And Russia Are Fighting With Robots

Technology has long been a foundational aspect of warfare for countries worldwide, but this war is seeing several robotic inventions put to work in new and exciting ways on both sides of the battlefield. Several videos of the action have been made public on social media and YouTube, showing how a new generation of robots is offering human soldiers assistance in the war. 

Drones Support Soldiers

In one video on YouTube, near the city of Avdiivka in Ukraine, viewers can see a boxy little robot zipping along a dusty road. These unmanned ground vehicles (or UGVs) carry cargo and ammunition to troops in hot zones. In the video, just as you get used to seeing the little boxy robot hurry along the road, a first-person view drone (or FPV drone) smashes right into it, exploding the robot and the drone into pieces. 

Many other examples and stories of robots used in the war have surfaced. Some robots are used/designed to lay land mines along roads. Some robots carry food and supplies to soldiers, and some UGVs are designed to carry injured soldiers to safety amid battle. 

The Future Of War Is Almost Here

With UGVs on the ground and FPV drones in the sky, the reality of a robot war is becoming much clearer. Though the addition of robots to the battlefield won’t likely make any significant differences in how the war is fought, it will certainly lead to an evolution in strategy on both sides of the fight. 

Small Drones Patrol The Skies

drones shotguns feature

For now, most unmanned ground vehicles are small robots, as larger vehicles on the battlefield will more easily be tracked, observed, and destroyed via FPV drones. The Ukrainians have a good lock on the land with their aerial sensors. Anything moving into that territory is immediately tracked and attacked by aerial forces, so making the UGVs small helps to make them more difficult to detect.  

DIY Remote Drones Are Used On Land

sarcos robots feature

Currently, the robot UGVs and drones being spotted in Russia’s war on Ukraine are underdeveloped and DIY in nature. They are four or six-wheeled machines that stand around knee height and can be arranged for various purposes. Most of the robots used in the war are largely remote versus autonomous. 

Ukraine Wants An Army Of Robots

Someone has to man the robot’s controls for it to be useful in the war, which means that the target will likely shift from trying to blow up the robots to locating the person operating the machine. Some UGVs have a short range of just a few kilometers, while there are some robots in the war with ranges of up to 40-60 kilometers for operation. 

In recent months, Ukraine has publicly announced its intent to lean more heavily on developing robots for the war, going so far as the government stating its ambitious desire to build a whole “army of robots.” 

Source: Wired