Robotic soldiers working in groups to be reality by 2023: DRDO chief

Robotic soldiers that work in groups could be a reality in a decade from now, according to Avinash Chander, Scientific Advisor, Secretary, Defence and Director General R&D of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Chander was speaking at the first international conference in Advances in Robotics-2013 (AIR 2013) that began at the Research and Development Establishment (R&DE) Engineers here on Thursday. Emphasising on the increasing importance of robotics in unmanned warfare scenario, Chander threw light on India’s advancements in robotics for military purposes.

He said the prime challenges of the future will be to integrate robots to work together in a formation, for which he said we need an integrated plan. “Here, the role of the industry is very important to turn prototypes into products,” he said. Emphasising that India needs to master the development of sub-systems of robotics such as controls, sensors, flexible materials, jam-proof communication systems, he called for increasing their pace of development in the country.

Chander also emphasised the importance of robotics in Low Intensity Conflict as well as civilian non-combatant operations. Talking about UAVs, Chander said that trials of Rustom- I are complete and that of Rustom II will begin soon.

AIR 2013 has been jointly organised by R&DE and Robotics Society of India. The conference was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt. of India. While delivering his address he brought out the importance of robotics and automation nationally in various applications varying from atomic energy, space, defence and industrial automation. He stated the use of robotics in handling hazardous materials like explosives, infectious biological threats, and radiological materials.

He talked about the third industrial revolution that is driven by internet, digital manufacturing, robotics and the desire to develop green technologies. He suggested that DRDO should encourage as well as guide academia and industries towards directed basic research. He also suggested that robotic society should build a Robotic Grid using the virtual lab supported by high speed internet based LAN Knowledge Networks to accelerate the interactions of scientific community, academia and industries.

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