Anonymous British Army personnel

Robotics and autonomous systems central to British Army's future vision

Anonymous British Army personnel

The British Army is set to integrate Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) as part of its vision for the future.

According to the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the integration of RAS will make the most of 'human-machine teams’ by combining autonomous, robotic and artificial intelligence technologies.

Uncrewed, computer-driven vehicles are one example of how the Army may use RAS – with the vehicles used to provide situational awareness or deliver aid to remote regions.

The vehicles will also be able to quickly deploy counter-drone capabilities to survey areas of land and use sensors and effectors that can see, shift or shoot across the whole battlefield.

Chief of the General Staff Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said the Army will "draw on innovation, cutting-edge technology" and contribute to allowing the service "to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly".

Watch: Autonomous Warrior – meet the driverless military vehicles.

"Our Future Soldier initiative will see more versatile and increasingly deployable land forces in the face of evolving threats," he said.

As part of the Future Soldier Initiative, the Army will also publish the 'Approach to Electrification'.

Covering the next 15 years, the strategy looks to increase the use of batteries, sustainable energy and hybrid drive technologies across the Army.

Electrification of the battlefield will change the way troops operate, enabling advances in stealth mode capabilities due to reduced thermal and noise signature.

Colonel Simon Ridgway OBE, Assistant Head of Plans for Ground Manoeuvre Capability, said the electrification will set out how the Army will capitalise on "sustainable technology for land capabilities".

Watch: Explained – how could autonomous systems affect the British military?

"It will ensure the Army's electrical infrastructure is ready to meet the electrical demand required on the battlefield of the future," he said.

"Delivering effect needs the right power, in the right place, at the right time and using hybrid vehicles will make it easier to get the power to where it needs to be."

The Army has already put £10m into fitting hybrid electric drives to Man SV, Jackal and Foxhound vehicles.

The vehicles' performance is currently being evaluated, while trials of pre-production models are due to take place.