Armed force may soon get robot alternative for recce operations

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Robots on wheels, robots on tracks and robots resembling a ball, much the same as a robotic character found in the new Star Wars movies may soon be turning out to join Indian Army troops.

Throughout the previous three years, Bengaluru-based DRDO lab, the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robots (CAIR), has been perfecting four unique models of mobile robots designed to infiltrate military and combat zones, map the zone and help friendly troops punch their way in.

Two of these models, which were on display at the 107th Indian Science Congress, demonstrated the maturity of the technology. The ‘Sentry’ is a four-wheeled robot that looks nearly spider-like with a huge central eye and a battery of sensors in front. The unit is designed to probe flat or semi-flat landscapes for the military.

The second machine, called ‘Mini-UGV’ is a squat, tracked robot looking like a huge, toy tank designed to infiltrate buildings involved by terrorists and review the different floors.

“Both of these models are completely autonomous, which means that if you give them a destination, they will create their own waypoints and chart a course to the destination using their inbuilt Artificial Intelligence module,” clarified the project director.

He explained that the ‘Sentry’ is additionally equipped for patrolling a medium-sized perimeter continually for whatever length of time that the battery held a charge. The maximum battery perseverance of the two machines is around four hours, researchers explained.

The two systems utilize a battery of sensors, including GPS, 360-degree cameras and an infrared sensor.

The other model of robot, which was not shown, is said to be a robot ball (called “ballbot”) which could be dropped by the mini-UGV over the different floors of a terrorist-held building, which would then be controlled by an operator from a remote location.

The operational doctrine has just been formulated for every one of the robots. “Eight of these various robots are designed to operate as a team. Each robot has something that we call “multi-agent collaboration.’ This means they can talk to each other,” clarified another researcher associated with the project.

“The last class of machine is a larger reconnaissance ground vehicle which again has autonomous capabilities,” the senior researcher said.

The DRDO said the two machines have finished testing and are ready to be deployed. DRDO authorities, be that as it may, would not comment about whether the Indian military had communicated interest for the inventions.

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