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Robotics for 4orce page

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The military use of robots has been steadily increasing as unmanned systems prove to be increasingly able to perform the “dull, dirty and dangerous” jobs that personnel need not do; however strides forward in capability and automation are leading towards a future where robots could do far more than their current roles ie mainly Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) logistic and ISTAR roles.


The United States have seen the potential of unmanned systems through their effective deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq and have laid out a 25 year road map for dramatically increasing the numbers of unmanned systems within their forces. These systems are not only to compliment and aid traditional warfighter platforms but to also act in combat roles.


Land forces are likely to face a future of lower budgets and reduced manpower, at least in the near term. They will therefore need to reassess its strategic objectives and also the means with which they will achieve them. This might involve greater engagement with coalition partners, use of private security firms or increased use of unmanned systems. Certainly, in the wake of the rising casualty toll in Afghanistan, unmanned systems are an attractive option for a variety of roles.


This conference will not only look at US and UK attitudes towards unmanned ground vehicles and existing applications for unmanned systems. It will examine state of the art technology and a variety of systems currently being developed for future roles. However, speakers will also analyse whether unmanned systems are appropriate for all types of operations and revisit the ethical questions that surround the adoption of increasingly autonomous unmanned systems, particularly in an environment where close contact with the local population is likely. Finally, the conference will discuss integration issues, such as: cultural inertia, changes to the training of personnel, the need for specialised skill sets, increased requirement for contractors in theatre and interoperability with allies.


Confirmed speakers:


  • NEW SPEAKER CONFIRMED: Dr. Allan Tomlinson; Information Security Group, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Colonel Mark Adams, Assistant Team Leader, Special Projects Search and Countermeasures 1
  • Ron Arkin, Regents' Professor & Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • William Bardo, Technical Director, SEAS DTC
  • Colonel Craig Effinger, Chief, Science and Technology Division, Army Capabilities Integration Center, US Army Training and Doctrine Command
  • Steven Haines, Head, Security and Law Programme, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Colonel (ret’d) Bruce Jette PhD, President and CEO, Synovision
  • Mark Steinbeck, Health Advisor on the Effects of Weapons, International Commitee of the Red Cross
  • Professor Phil Sutton, Director General of Research and Technology Strategy
  • Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics, University of Reading

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