The Squad X experimentation program was started to give infantry Marines the same resources that mounted forces have by using autonomous robots engineered by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In a test at Twentynine Palms earlier this year, a group of these autonomous ground and aerial systems provided intelligence as well as recon support for Marines equipped with sensor-laden vests as they moved between natural desert and mock city blocks, all the while ground-based units provided armed security for the primary force. Read more for a video of this test.
These autonomous systems provided reconnaissance of areas ahead of the unit as well as flank security, surveying the perimeter and reporting to squad members’ handheld Android Tactical Assault Kits (ATAKs), and with just a few screen taps, the squad members were able to access options to act on the systems’ findings or adjust the search areas.
“A human would be involved in any lethal action … But we’re establishing superior situational awareness through sufficient input and AI, and then the ability to do something about it at fast time scales,” said DARPA.