Robotics Research Center

Turning Remote Controlled Military Systems Into Autonomous Force Multipliers

Dominic Larkin
Christopher Lowrance
Paul Maxwell, Army Cyber Institute


Conducting military combat missions requires manpower and places our service members? lives at risk. The military has begun employing remotely controlled assets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles, to improve personnel safety. Despite this obvious advantage, there is one particular drawback: current unmanned systems still require one or more personnel to control each system. In some cases this takes more manpower than the manned system alternative. Thus the operator workload for a given unmanned system is high, and the operator must be engaged at all times to render the system useful. The requirement to actively focus on operating these remote-controlled systems consumes valuable human resources and lowers their situational awareness in combat environments. The benefit of these unmanned systems can be greatly increased if the demand on the operator is reduced or eliminated; there is a need for these unmanned systems to function more autonomously.