Smart Robots for Combat Operations - Military Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV)

Posted in Aerospace & Defence by Adolf on Apr 3,2023 909

Smart robots are an integral part of modern warfare, and, thus, different countries across the globe are increasingly including these robots in their defense forces. They are essential for combat operations and assist defense forces in various missions. Smart robots are designed to handle a broad range of combat tasks, from picking up snipers to carrying out target acquisitions. These robots can map a potentially large hostile area by accurately identifying and detecting different threats.

Dull and dirty operations that could put human lives at stake such as areas affected by chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense (CBRN) attacks are more and more being executed by the unmanned ground vehicles. Rescue operations, firefighting, surveillance, mine clearance, bomb defusal, logistics, and combat missions are amongst the various applications. The development and use of autonomous functions for driving and other non-weapon functions are increasing, but combat functions are restrained by ethical questions. The use of combat applications is expected to grow further after military field testing and doctrine development.

Moreover, unmanned ground vehicles are used to undertake counter terrorism, battlefield surveillance and close-range fire support tasks, and can confront enemy infantry, tanks, armoured vehicles, and even armed helicopters. As commercial usages, UGV technologies boost their operational capabilities, particularly to urban search & rescue, bomb-disposal, and firefighting. The use of unmanned ground vehicles as automated transport of goods helps reduce injury to hospital staff, reduce wear and tear on hospital infrastructure, enables just-in-time delivery and full transparency and control of the delivery processes.

The Global Unmanned Ground Vehicle Market has a market volume of US$ 2.16 billion in 2022 and grows with a CAGR of 17.7% over the forecast period of 2022-2030. North America has the largest market of US$ 0.79 The Asia Pacific region is expected to show the highest market growth with a CAGR of 22.3% over the forecast period. The increased investment in the military modernization programs in the defense sector, rising use of unmanned ground vehicles for homeland security and commercial applications is another factor that is expected to drive the market in the APAC region.

The defense forces of different countries focus on developing new robot technologies to enhance their combat capabilities. For instance, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been financing the development of a robotic submarine system since 2020 for use in several applications, right from detecting underwater mines to engaging in anti-submarine operations to protecting ships at harbors. Additionally, there are usages of unmanned ground vehicles as it independently performs patrol, reconnaissance, and transportation tasks.

Various federal law enforcement agencies around the world such as Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (US), Police of Russia (politsiya) (Russia), Ministry of Defence Police (UK), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) (India), and, Ministry of Public Security (China), among others are using UGVs for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) activities. UGVs are used extensively by these agencies for critical missions and have resulted in saving countless lives.

In the last 10 years, emerging economies such as India, China, and Singapore have increased their defense budgets. The US topped the list for military spending in 2021, followed by China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India was the third-largest country in terms of military spending in 2021. The UAE has increased its defense spending by 136% over the past 10 years, owing to its increasing GDP and unrest in the Middle East. In 2021, China increased its defense budget, which is predicted to increase in the coming years. These economies are increasingly investing in defense operations and are potential UGVs and related military robotics markets.

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