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MOSCOW, March 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is unfolding a large-scale program for creating robots for the battlefield.
The short-term plans include the creation of an Avatar-type combat android. R & D of an anthropomorphic robotic platform is due to begin presently, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, the chairman of the governmental commission for defense industries told Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily.
“This system will be an analogue of avatar, as the operator of the machine will be placed practically outside of its reality,” Rogozin said. “Nothing of the kind has been created anywhere in the world so far.”
The Russian android is destined to have a range of specific characteristics, like control with the aid of a backup costume and sensitized manipulators augmented with an efficient system of 3D-vision.
An operator will be able to transmit his or her own bodily movements to the android and to get torque feedback, which will control force during clamping.
The first stage of the project will be over already in 2015 and it will be crowned with field testing, in the course of which the android will have to get over an obstacle zone, to fulfill a task with the use of various instruments, and even to drive a car.
Increasing utilization of battlefield robots is a crucial tendency in the development of Armed Forces around the globe.
The most advanced armies make an active tactical use of drones and various ground robots. The overall list of all the types and models of model combat robotic technologies is very impressive already now, with drones alone occupying more than 300 positions on it.
In addition, a broad spectrum of models is in the phase of development at present. In a word, proliferation of robotics in the Armed Forces is on the move and Russia does not want to lag behind others by any means.
A Russian soldier should have a capability and physical ability to fight in the battlefield at a ratio of one to five. The soldiers’ combat capabilities can be boosted not only by putting robotic appliances and complexes into his hands but also by designing special combat fatigues, creating a system of intellectual control over technologies and weaponry and a system of ‘soldier’s intellect’, which will make each robot a full-fledged element of a combat unit and a ‘man to computer interface’.
This means that one person will be expected to operate several robots, which is very different from several people running or servicing one machine.
The bulk of robots placed by the Armed Forces on the tables of equipment today are remote- control platforms with surveillance gauges, video cameras, strike weapons, and specialized instruments.
Dmitry Rogozin believes the essence and philosophy makes these systems practically identical with the ‘teletanks’, which the Red Army in its arsenals back in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Specialized units of people ensure the operations of each robot. “This approach is morally outdated today and is more often than not simply unacceptable,” he said.
Robots should be smart and, most importantly, universalized and this concerns the platforms that are used and their functional capabilities.
Narrowly specialized robots are too expensive, while anthropomorphic robots, which can substitute for man and manipulate authorized instruments, including the surgical ones, use weapons and drive cars if need be, have the biggest universality.
The same robot can do the jobs like mine-clearing of roads, providing medical assistance, searching for objects, and so on.
Dmitry Rogozin believes that it is important to shape up a unified policy of the state in the field of robotic technologies and systems and to identify the spheres where they will be utilized.
“It looks like it’s high time to set up an experimental military unit as a testing floor where the existing and pilot R & D products could be tested in the conditions maximally resembling a real battlefield, where new tactical techniques and algorithms of combat robotics utilization could be tried out,” he says.
In the meantime, Russia’s Strategic Missile Troops plan to fit out their facilities with mobile robotic complexes, Dmitry Andreyev, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said last week. The robots will guard and defend strategic installations.
Promising mobile robotic complexes will be meant for observation, detection and incapacitation of stationary and moving targets. Also, they will be used for supporting fire of combat units and for patrolling and guarding of important facilities as part of other automatic security maintenance systems.
Robots will be fitted out with weaponry and will be tracking and incapacitating targets in the automatic and semi-automatic mode. In addition, they will have electronic and optical supervision system.
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