The Ukrainian government has signified its intention to build an “army of robots” for use against Russian forces.
The country’s Ministry of Digital Transformation said it wants to leverage its “successful experience” in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in exploring other areas of military innovation to bolster Kyiv’s defense capabilities.
“A technological revolution has already begun in the field of UAVs over the past year. Within the framework of the Army of Drones project … some Ukrainian companies have increased their UAV production by hundreds of times,” digital transformation minister Mykhailo Fedorov said.
However, the official stressed that in order to win the war, it is necessary for Ukraine “to do even more.”
Fedorov revealed that the ministry will launch an electronic warfare army and an “Army of Robots” to better respond to more sophisticated threats.
He further stated that the country only needs the cooperation of industry partners for the development and supply of robotic platforms for defense use.
In 2021, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged governments to draft a treaty that would set standards for responsible operation of lethal autonomous weapons, so-called “killer robots.”
A senior arms researcher at HRW asserted that killing people based on data collected by sensors and processed by machines would violate human dignity.
“Relying on algorithms to target people will dehumanize warfare and erode our humanity,” she said.
One example is the recent revelation by US Air Force official Col. Tucker Hamilton about an artificial intelligence-enabled drone attacking its own operator for allegedly interfering with its pre-programmed mission.
Due to risks associated with using killer robots, the US Department of Defense laid out new rules on how to deal with autonomous systems, including a requirement to minimize the “probability and consequences of failures” to avoid unintended engagements.
Additionally, killer robots will be used strictly by authorized and trained personnel in accordance with the laws of war, weapon system safety rules, and applicable rules of engagement.
‘Army of Drones’
Before plans for the new “Army of Robots” were disclosed, the war-torn nation had already planned to build an “Army of Drones” using donations from foreign allies and charitable organizations.
Ukrainian military official Col. Oleksii Noskov told BBC News that the fleet of UAVs will help monitor the frontline and provide an effective response to enemy attacks.
Each system in the “Army of Drones” is equipped with sophisticated cameras, a global positioning system, and mapping tools for effective surveillance and reconnaissance.