Russian Army Tests Artificial Intelligence Equipped Target Robots

  • Our Bureau
  • 04:27 AM, December 21, 2020
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Russian Army Tests Artificial Intelligence Equipped Target Robots
AI-based target robots: all image from Tvzvezda

Artificial intelligence (AI) based mobile target robots that dodge shooters’ bullets have been tested for the first time in Patriot Park shooting range near Moscow.

The AI-based robots are dressed as soldiers and carry dummy guns. Mounted on wheeled vehicles, they have cross-country ability and can maneuver their way around obstacles and away from the direction of bullets, the Russian MoD’s TV Channel, reported.

During tests, the soldiers first fired from a prone position and from their knees at standard and stationary targets at a distance of 150, 300 and 350 meters. Several targets entered the shooting zone and disappeared to simulate a real battle scenario.

Officially, the product is called "an autonomous target with artificial intelligence algorithms." The artificial intelligence algorithms enable the robots to use undulations in the terrain for cover from gunfire. On a flat surface, the robots bend forward or backward and hide behind bushes to avoid the bullets.  

Russian Army Tests Artificial Intelligence Equipped Target Robots
Target robots can sense direction of bullets

According the report, the target is a very complex engineering system. With the help of sophisticated terrain orientation mechanisms, laser sensors, and navigation systems, it was possible to create a robot capable of independently analyzing the situation at the range and acting in an organized group of the same machines.

“They can be like allied troops - move with ours, or as enemy troops can carry out various scenarios, such as getting out of an ambush, bypassing our troops, or organizing an ambush,” said Pavel Ikomasov, a leading software engineer at a company developing robotic targets. The company was not named in the report.

All information about the destruction of targets appears on screen of the officer monitoring the target shooting. If the "wound" is not fatal, then the robot continues to advance. The system could be adapted by the Main Directorate of Combat Training of the Armed Forces of Russia in the near future, the report said.

In future, groups of dozens of such robotic targets can be used to simulate the battle conditions in defense and offensive for tactical exercises up to the battalion. Especially important: such independent, mobile targets will not allow shooters to get used to the familiar target environment.

Russian Army Tests Artificial Intelligence Equipped Target Robots
AI-based target robot bending backwards to avoid bullets

“To teach, firstly, servicemen in target reconnaissance, to determine ranges to targets, to enter the appropriate settings into the sight. This will allow for better training of servicemen,” explained Vladimir Bratus, First Deputy Head of the Patriot Park's multifunctional fire center. The system should hugely improve  the skills of the soldiers as they do not know where the robot will go, what will happen next.

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