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August 26, 2011

Armywide News

Lynch: Robots could reduce workload, save lives

By Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Robots and unmanned systems potentially could improve enemy surveillance, reduce a Soldier’s workload and save lives on the battlefield, an Army general said. Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding general of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command and assistant Army chief of staff for installation management, addressed an audience at an Aug. 18 session of the 2011 Unmanned Systems North America conference hosted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
PHOTO: A view of an Oshkosh TerraMax autonomous vehicle. Contributed photo
A view of an Oshkosh TerraMax autonomous vehicle. (Contributed photo)

“When I look at the 153 Soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Lynch said, referring to Soldiers who died under his command in Iraq, “I know that 80 percent of them were placed in a situation where we could have placed an unmanned system in the same job.”

The Army has used increasingly capable robotic and unmanned systems for nearly 10 years. As a robotics engineer, Lynch said, he’s seen some progress in the Army’s use of such systems, but he makes a case for expanded and accelerated use.

The Army uses robotic ground systems that haul gear, navigate tunnels and rough terrain, monitor remote areas, capture and transmit images, search for roadside bombs, remove obstacles from roads and sometimes go where no Soldier can safely go. Such robots can be used to reduce a Soldier’s workload, and even can make up for the reduction in the Army’s civilian work force that will occur over the next year as the defense budget is cut.

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