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Autonomy in navigation is another essential function. It is the system’s capability to be conscious of its position, to track and manage its route. Most navigation systems today are not completely autonomous and require at least some parameter definition by humans. Most commonly, navigation systems are given checkpoints, based on which they find the most suitable route on their own. Autonomous take-off and landing capabilities are becoming increasingly popular in aerial systems. These systems are more automatic than autonomous as they operate on extremely strict parameters and predefined rules. It is believed that the technology for automatic take-off and landing will soon surpass human capabilities in terms of accuracy and success rate.
Detection of explosives is a capability mainly found with EOD (Explosive ordnance disposal) units which operate robotic systems which attempt to detect, diffuse or even detonate explosives without human intervention, other than fundamental command and control in relative safety. Recent systems have shown capability of carrying out the entire process from detection to detonation without any human interference. Detection of perimeter intrusion is another military application of artificial intelligence. These are unsophisticated systems that use sensor suits to detect any movement along the perimeter of a military installment. Reducing the requirement of sentries and increasing the general situational awareness. The detection of gunfire or other weapons fire is another autonomous feature possessed by military robots.
Interoperability is the ability of troops, their equipment and support weapon systems deployed, to operate as an integrated fighting force and in conjunction with each other.
Coordinated mobility is when the various systems move in formation as predefined by military leaders. Autonomous mobility is a relatively simple task to achieve. The system simply needs to be given the distance, with which it must operate from other systems, the velocity to be maintained and so on. Collaborative autonomy can also be applied in a series of ISR operations. This deals with the engineering of small, low cost unmanned aerial vehicles to carry out ISR missions undetected. While these intelligence systems are still under development, some have reached demonstration phase. These ISR drones, as demonstrated, possess the capability to be launched at high altitudes and velocities by combat aircrafts, making it a unique and truly effective technology. Under development is the possibility of making distributed attacks through autonomy. That is, giving weapon systems the capability to distribute targets amongst themselves in a completely autonomous manner.
Systems have been able to monitor their own health status for almost a century now, all due to the important discovery of loop systems. Despite this, self-detection and self-healing capabilities of systems remain purely an experimental concept. Autonomous recharging and refueling is a technological feat which many robots incorporate today, be it for civilian or military use. From an engineering point of view, refueling or recharging from a fixed dock is a relatively easy process. On the other hand, giving autonomous systems the capability to refuel mid-air is an extremely complicated process and is still under development. Fault detection and diagnosis is believed to be a capability which already exists in robotics but is not the center of focus in research for the time being. There are many systems capable of detecting basic faults that may have occurred, even those which are external in nature. Modular robotics is exploring the self-repairing aspect in research quite extensively. It is based on the concept of diagnosis of a fault in the modules, ejection of the damaged module and its replacement with the new module. Current materials do not possess these properties and self-repairing/self-modification is still very much an experimental concept
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