The project has many potential military benefits, in particular reducing the burden of the operating soldier both physically and mentally and increasing the knowledge of advantages and limitations for the current/next generations robotic capabilities.
The study proposed promising "quick-win" technologies when such were identified, clearly showing advantages but also limitations, for the current/next generations, as well as technologies that need longer time to develop in support of robotic capabilities for future generations of unmanned systems in CSDP operations.
A network was build up including stakeholders in the field of multi robot development. These were mostly companies and universities showing that this field of technology is still mostly R&T. Nevertheless, also different Ministries of Defence and other military contacts are part of the network representing the potential future user of multi robot systems.
Inside the project was given an overview about current ongoing research studies in the field of multi robot systems.In addition to this information from participating stakeholders, a literature research was performed in order to investigate the current TRL of technologies required for Multi Robot Systems (MRS).
Based on the results of the previously gathered information a gap analyses was performed to identify the difference between “what is needed” and “what do we have” and a roadmap was developed. Taking these results, long-, mid- and short-term gaps were identified. At the end, it was exemplary shown with simulations how such gaps could be closed and how the benefit using MRS instead of single robots could look like.
Short, medium and long term perspectives
In this project it was shown how military forces can benefit from cooperatively working robot systems (MRS) in different scenarios.
There are several key technologies with a high maturity level ready to be applied in short term (by 2020). The joint use of them could result in the deployment of systems applicable to current missions. These potential systems would be limited because there is a significant group of strategic technologies that will not be ready before the medium (by 2025) or long term (by 2040). Tele-operated systems are ready and fully tested with many other available technologies that allow developing systems for some of the operational cases identified. The main problem of tele-operated systems is the limited number of robots that can be operated in parallel.
Semi-Autonomous operation and moving technologies/capabilities might shorten development times if the right investment is made. This provides to multi robot systems a wider field of operation.
The case of fully autonomous systems is complicated because it implies solving many complexities, technical and moral, especially in operation case in which people are involved.
The MuRoC project has clearly shown the interest for cooperatively working robot systems not only on industry and academic side but also on military side. Work on this field is mostly still R&D but significant progress has been achieved in the last years for different required technologies. Most of the scenarios identified to be performable by single robots can be accomplished by cooperatively working MRS with an even higher performance.