May 272012
 

Robotics is the future of warfare. While it is difficult to predict the exact nature  or shape of the future in any field, especially one as new as robotics, it is a relatively safe bet that the robotically augmented soldiers will be appearing on the battlefield soon.

It seems, in fact that this is just around the corner, as reported by Danger Room’s David Axe. He reports that Lockheed Martin’s HULC, a robotic exoskeleton, will be field tested in Afghanistan in the next year. And while the US presence will be significantly diminished by the time the unit could make any significant appearance on the battle field, Axe points out that Special Operations personnel will be staying longer. With the more limited man-power and logistical support, such systems may be able to literally lessen the load on these front-line soldiers.

However, these exoskeletons may be extraordinarily useful in garrison, as well. As can be seen in this video about Sarkos’s similar, but more powerful and less mobile version, exoskeletons may be of great use in the various heavy-lifting jobs often encountered on military bases both at home and abroad.

So the future of warfare will not just bring ever more autonomous drones, in all of their new and innovative forms, but also the closer integration of man and machine.