Army’s eyes in the groups of ‘ autonomous ‘morphing’ robots by the year 2040

In an automated direct and the indirect mortar system can be operated from a distance by AMERICAN troops during a multinational, joint equipment, working with the U.S. army at the Grafenwoehr Training, Germany, on April 2, 2018, in preparation for a Robot in a Complex Breach Concept demo, file photo..
(U.s. Army photo by Spc. Hubert D. Delany, III / 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

What if you have a small army forward operating robots in order to search for the next river gorge, and … no human intervention — an autonomous mesh to form a bridge-like structure, which is manned combat units to advance?

What if, in an aerial swarm of mini-drones was to be able to be autonomous and to work in a synchronized manner, in order to act collectively, as a group, may be the combination of otherwise independent, small munitions, a larger explosive attack on a major upcoming goal is to as directed as a result of human decision-makers?

These types of hypothetical scenarios, in 20 years or so, depending on the progress of the current high level of Research Lab to work on the exploration of new scientific frontiers in the field of robotics and autonomy.

The Army Research Laboratory is working with Northwestern University and Georgia Tech, has been experimenting with groups of small robots is to observe the “emergent collective behavior” — which, otherwise, a variety of individual robots working in a coordinated and synchronized manner, in a way that they cannot do for themselves.

The best example of what the Military scientists and academic partners to try to you can be interesting is to be found in nature, according to Dr. Sam Stanton, Program Manager of the Complex Dynamics and Systems, Army Research Office, the Army, the Combat Capability Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory.


“The ants are a means of co-ordinated behaviour that is perplexing. It’s not an amazing amount of control over the entire colony, rather than a coordinated, collective behavior. We are working on a new word which is behaving like a colony of ants. I’ve never tried to engineer things like this that show the kind of collective behavior that we see in nature,” Stanton said in an interview with “Warrior”.

Discussion in comparison to the research focused on the reproduction of natural phenomena within ant colonies, which exhibit a certain degree of collective synergy, individual ants participating in a targeted group of features, such as the building of anthills, and the conveying of small pieces of food along a pheromone trail, and regular exercise in an organized group manner in order to carry out the tasks. This is a group of tasks, that is the “emergent collective behavior” far exceeds the capabilities of an individual ant, is something that is inspired by intrigue, and concentrated under ARL’s scientists.

Researchers have been exploring these questions with a little mini-robot and the particles are called “smarticles” to see how they move, to adapt, to change and turn into a greater collective, a co-ordinated manner, without requiring human direction to perform specific functions. The smarticles, as they are called, are actively engaged in some Discussion are referred to as a “stochastic” manner, which means that they are determined at random in a pattern that can be recognized, but it is not entirely predictable.

The smarticles, which have the appearance of small, maneuvering of the robots with the plastic wings, as can be seen, with a mind to how they work and clash with each other in groups.


“If you have a group of them to strike against each other with random movements, and collective behaviour. It uses controlled movements. It is this emergent behaviour that could not be predicted from looking at a single item,” Discussion and described

Stanton explained that the whole of the premises, in the context of natural phenomena and the knowledge about the computer, saying, “how would you like the merging of a host of algorithms for the generation of a function might not have the one machine alone?”

Engineers are, of course, you will need to know how to be the architect, as individual, autonomous, robots are increasingly able to perform a variety of functions without any human intervention. Now, researchers with the ARL have been exploring the cutting edge of a new scientific paradigm for the analysis of collective behavior and its potential military utility. This Army’s basic Research in the field of robotics, which were designed to inform the operations of 20 to 30 years from now, it is not focused on the creation of prototypes or, in the short term, the product per se, but rather is focused on the exploration and refinement of novel scientific principles is likely to present the options in a decade or two from now.

“People want to build robots that will assemble in different configurations, for quite a while. It has always been done, where we have everything you need to know about each and every small element, and we know that the inputs and the outputs. It’s a complicated system, but you need to be in control of all of the pieces to make a larger configuration in order to have a collective mechanism. This requires a complex control unit and the arithmetic is complex,” Stanton said.

Even though this kind of work, and the exploration of new frontiers in scientific research, and is described as a “very, very far from him of the interesting questions about the nature of the mission, capabilities, able to inspire people. Maybe a swarm of mini-drones covered the area with surveillance cameras, will be able to connect to a larger, collective responsibility, such as the combination of sensors in one or more of the formation of a collective “mass” of the explosive devices in the sky to come down and detonate on a specific target, as may be prescribed by a human operator. Or, perhaps, it is a small, mobile unit with the land of the robots was able to, after the detection of a threat, an autonomous change in the shape and merge them together to form a wall, or a protective shield against the approach of enemy armored vehicles.


Discussion provided a very interesting example, which suggests that it might be a group of robots have to be able to self-organize, to mesh together and form a bridge over a river gorge.

“They will be able to begin to entangle, and has grown into a collective able to put the lock down on each other and form the actual texture. We don’t have robots that are able to entangle themselves,” Stanton said.

The Army of 2017, In Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Strategies document speaks to the merits of the case, the TRADOC (U.s. Army Training and Doctrine Command) and the paper cards, the future of the business and the strategies that are presented in the time-steps in the near -, medium -, and long-term. The “far-term” part of the strategy for the 2030 to 2040 period, with the specific references to the anticipated benefits to be expected when a multi-robotic systems will work together.

“To facilitate the maneuver formations to take advantage of the armed ground aircraft, robotic platforms, with the smaller signature, and they have more stamina and endurance, working alone or in pairs, to destroy high value targets deep in enemy territory,” the paper writes.

It’s probably important to note that the survey does not give in to the often-discussed question of an autonomous robot in an attack, without any human intervention, but in the exploration of new scientific frontiers for the collective-robotic-surgery. Pentagon doctrine is, of course, suggests that the use of “deadly” force, that requires a “human-in-the-loop.” In this concept, the ARL study was the work of an Army of futurists to explore the realm of the possible with regard to their potential to combat the effects of this kind of group of robot autonomy. The extension of this line of reasoning, the researchers describe their collective autonomy, as well as potentially scalable, in many ways, and as a result, able to be tailored to the functionality required by specific missions.


For example, there are a number of functions that are designed to ensure a high level of autonomy when compared to others that are beyond human control. It is remarkable that this question is being investigated in a Sept. By 2019 the essay is in the Army and the University Press’, Military Review, the Journal, entitled “the Potential for the Army’s Integration of stand-alone Systems, due to War-fighting Function.” A high level of autonomy and will be useful for missions that do not require the use of lethal force, such as exploration, and the essay states as well. The other missions in the lower levels of autonomy, according to the essay, such as “tactical troop movements, covering an area of, and countermobility operations.” These tasks may involve the use of force, so that human involvement is needed,” the paper states. (Maj. Thomas Ryan, Vikram, Mittal, D., Ph.).

The extension of this line of reasoning, however, there have been a significant defensive applications for stand-alone systems that can greatly reduce the sensor-to-shooter time, when it comes to stopping the impending enemy guns. The well-known Iron Dome missile defense system, for instance, you can go by means of the detection, and identification; the launch and the destruction of the dead necklace at the incoming fire in less than 30 seconds,” according to one of 2017 essay ” for the National Defense University that is called “Robotics and Autonomous Systems.” (The Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy).

Stanton explained that, while the technical potential of years away from the operational reality, they are closely related to the Army’s thinking when it comes to modernisation, strategy, and preparation for the future war. Autonomous and unmanned systems that operate in a collective and co-ordinated way, to offer new opportunities to connect otherwise separate areas, such as cyber, space, air, land, and sea.


“The Army is aware of the fact that they operate in a complex, interconnected system. The multi-domain doctrine, to try to catch it, and this is the understanding of the complexity of the multi-layered interactions,” Stanton said.

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