Armed, unmanned ground robots could see time on the battlefield by next year, according to a BigThink report.
Ukrainian military officials said they plan to use the experimental Phantom robotic platform in their conflict against Russian-backed forces next year, and demonstrated the system in action earlier this month, according to the report.
The platform, which can be run on 6 wheels or treads and can be equipped with a broad array of weaponry, was developed by Ukrainian defense contractor Ukroboronprom. The Phantom can travel 81 miles on a single engine charge and can reach speeds of 37 miles per hour, according to BigThink.
The system comes equipped with a backup microwave communication link designed to be usable even if the operator is hacked or jammed, according to the report, and can also be used to evacuate injured troops from the battlefield.
If the Phantom sees use it could mark a 1st for robots on the battlefield, which have seen use previously as aerial vehicles and drones but rarely as ground platforms, BigThink reports.
Russia has its own robotic battle platforms in development, including the Uran-9, which weighs 10 tons and is armed with a number of different weapon platforms. The system is related to the Uran-6, which has seen use removing mines and unexploded bombs in Syria, according to the report.
The US Military is developing its own Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System platform, called MAARS, that may see time on the battlefield in the future, BigThink reports.
The system is currently undergoing testing by the Marines and is not fully autonomous, though fully autonomous versions of such platforms are reportedly in development.