UGV will see their uses expanding into more complex areas thanks to AI

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is set to transform force structures and change the defense market, by expanding their uses in scenarios outside their most common ones, such as EOD and demining, but always with one main goal: to remove soldiers from harm’s way, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s latest thematic report, ‘Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Defense) – Thematic Research’, states that UGVs are being tested under new concepts and use cases incorporating the lessons learned from the recent combat operations in Afghanistan, Mali and elsewhere. These use cases include carrying supplies to combat units on the frontline, supporting dismounted soldiers and even fire delivering missions.

Stelios Kanavakis, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “UGVs are already being tested to ensure that their systems can assume an increasingly wider range of missions, while the associated technologies are improved to better serve its purpose in combat environments – where threats will be present in all scenarios and technologies that can disrupt telecommunications are widely available. Areas of conflict such as Mali have been serving as the proving grounds of those concepts. Once the technology has been fine-tuned for each use case, and the systems find a clear place in a force structure, the market will offer many new opportunities.”

Developments in AI, in conjunction with sensor and telecommunications technologies, will allow UGVs to undertake increasingly complex scenarios in contested and disruptive environments. UGVs becoming truly autonomous will allow for operation in manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T), with manned platforms in swarms with other UGVs, and as major platforms capable of delivering fire.

Kanavakis adds: “Unmanned combat platforms are expected to change the face of battle. It is a very interesting path, where the end result is not far from where we are today when it comes to programs such as the optionally-manned fighting vehicles (OMFV), as under development by the US Army.”

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