Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping and revolutionising several sectors of civil society by improving efficiency and reducing costs, with the military and defence fields also joining in this AI revolution (Richemond-Barak, 2022). AI can be defined as a system that solves complex tasks through adopting human approaches, including learning, creating, cognitive thinking, adapting and communicating (Nadikattu, 2020). Much of the discussion about AI is focused on its negative aspects, ignoring the positive implications that it can have for military affairs and decision-making processes, especially in order to protect civilians and reduce casualties, as well as in organizing counter-terrorism operations (Richemond-Barak, 2022).
Currently, ground-based robots are accustomed to moving in relatively simple environments due to their lack of locomotor capacity needed to traverse more complex terrain. For this reason, robotics engineer Yasemin Ozkan-Aydin, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, drew inspiration from the collective behaviour of ants, bees, and birds to solve problems and overcome obstacles to develop collaborative legged robots mimicking their counterparts from the natural world.
Recent trends in warfare show that combat environments are increasingly moving to densely inhabited urban areas, as military forces are called upon to counter non-state actors (Del Monte, 2019). This has initiated a fierce academic debate on the neutrality of urban environments (Spencer, 2020). Three main actions are deemed necessary to prepare for the challenges presented by modern urban warfare, notably: highly trained military personnel (able to achieve situational awareness in contested scenarios), a clear and efficient chain of command, and the incorporation of cutting-edge technologies to facilitate the identification of threats (Betz, Stanford-Tuck, 2019).
The recent decades have witnessed the rapid expansion of unmanned devices in the military sector, which have gotten more and more exposure in public debates and were increasingly used on the battlefield– from surveillance to drone strikes. The efficiency of this technology was once again proven during the short Nagorno-Karabakh war between September and November 2020, in which Azerbaijan deployed a great amount of drones against Armenia’s traditional forces, which heavily contributed to the latter’s defeat despite its easily-defendable mountainous geography.