From the beginning of biologically inspired robots, researchers have been
fascinated by the possibility of interaction between a robot and its environment,
and by the possibility of robots interacting with each other. Robots may perform
dangerous tasks can operate remotely of collocated in the same room as its user,
are engaging, motivating, encouraging imagination and innovation, and may
improve literacy and creativity. As an inevitable result of the exponential growth
of robot applications in industry and in civilian service, intelligent robotic systems
have been used with success in warfare. They will soon be ubiquitous, with a
continuously growing variety of applications such as target detection,
identification and tracking, weapon guidance, reconnaissance, autonomous guidance of land, sea and air vehicles, terrestrial image mapping, simulations of
military equipment, battlefield training, support, etc.
Such entities are a growing industry from both a research and commercial
perspective. Thus, it is desirable to present a review on intelligent robotic systems
to serve as a tutorial to people inside and outside the field, and to promote
discussion of a unified vision for these agents with a particular focus on military
use. In particular, a comprehensive taxonomy of robots used in warfare is
compiled, key points in the field are identified, and challenges are discussed that
are likely to shape the specific area in the near future.
Their application on the battlefield though, raises several challenges, moral
and ethical issues that are also discussed in this work.