Robotic platforms can serve as an effective substitute
for personnel for high-risk or highly fatiguing operations.
Unmanned systems create a standoff capability that significantly
improves the chances of survival of combat troops, thus
widening the operational scope of modern military units. One of the first
applications of military robotics was the Explosive Ordnance Disposal
(EOD) robot. The design focused on inspection and investigation of suspicious objects,
and neutralizing them by disrupting sensitive activation devices, or
safely removing them to a safe place. All these activities are
performed under continuous human control by experts utilizing the
robots as "tele-operated" systems. These are large, and relatively
slow robotic platforms used for high risk combat engineering
tasks, such as counter IED and counter mine patrols or heavy
earthmoving operations in areas saturated by enemy fire.
Military and law enforcement agencies worldwide are already
operating different versions of this type of EOD robots. Recent improvements in EOD robotics include
faster and more agile platforms, which provide faster movement over obstacles,
the ability to climb steps, etc. More sensitive and ergonomically designed
controls allow better and more sensitive control of the manipulation
devices and sensors providing improved performance. Two examples of
this type are the German Teodor and
A more ambitious task, which involves a higher level of autonomy, is
the sentry mission. Sentry robots carry out routine guard and patrol
missions, monitoring restricted areas, detecting and reporting any
suspicious movement in the area under surveillance.
Unlike a fixed
camera or unattended ground sensor, the robotic sentry can be
programmed to patrol randomly, and respond to specific triggers by
assessing the situation in order to improve response rate and efficiency while
reducing the probability of false alarms. As a mobile, intelligent
sensor-effectors, robot sentries allow coverage of more area with fewer resources.
Types of robotic autonomous sentries include small sensor packed spheres, which can
roll into any location over a flat surface, effectively covering
indoor spaces such as warehouses, yards or storage area. Larger robots
include wheeled or tracked platforms, which mount an array of
an elevated mast. Modified "robotized" all-terrain vehicles such as IAI's Guardium
which was displayed at Eurosatory 06, have also been converted to
autonomous patrol vehicles, patrolling along a borderline, secured
roads or anti-infiltration perimeter lines.