It was with great interest that I read the article, "Robotic Combat Vehicles: Army Setting Stage for New Unmanned Platforms" in the April issue of National Defense. I took special note of the quote by Maj. Cory Wallace: "Fundamentally a robot is supposed to do the three Ds--dumb, dirty and dangerous tasks."
I would like to focus on the middle task--the dirty ones--and how those can be accomplished without a crew. Let's take the task of recovering a vehicle that has gotten mired in a farmer's field in Germany. Who is it that was going to dismount and walk through knee deep muck to attach the recovery cable to a tree so the vehicle can self-recover?
And who exactly is going to conduct the preventive maintenance checks and services while the unit is on the move? This is normally done while the unit is on the move when the vehicle stops. Even if there are sensors to tell us if the oil is low someone has to open the grill, grab a five gallon can of oil and pour liberally. So just who is that soldier?
The subject was dirty jobs--is there any tanker or Bradley soldier out there that does not think breaking track is a dirty job? So who's doing that one because sooner or later it's going to throw a track to the inside or need one replaced.
The task of re-arming armored vehicles has always been something of a dirty job--certainly not as dirty as some but dirty enough--assuming there is no robot uncrating...