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The Russian army is developing tactics for a future force of armed ground robots, including, surprisingly, human infantry scouting ahead of the main drone formations. The new tactics point to the Russia’s growing determination to field, on the ground and in the air, meaningful numbers of armed robots.

The new video from Russia’s Advanced Research Foundation shows the Marker robot – a platform for exploring other robotics technologies, though official releases said it may also see use with Russian Special Forces.

The new vehicle development by the Advanced Research Foundation (ARF), Russia’s equivalent of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is one way it’s figuring out how to make payloads work for future armed robots.

ARF clearly sees the Marker as a learning tool, saying “the evolution of combat robots is on the path of increasing the ability to perform tasks in autonomous mode with a gradual reduction in the role of the operator.”


The Marker platform is built to be modular, with open information architecture. One configuration for the testbed arms it with a Kalashnikov-produced machine gun and a part of anti-tank grenade launchers.

C4isrnet.com evaluates that a range of weapons will be tested on this platform, beyond this configuration.

The Marker is designed to work “a pair with a fighter, receiving target designation from the sight of his weapon,” or be controlled remotely, according to an ARF statement. This is a novel twist on another form of robotic targeting, where AI-powered sensors take aim and the human checks in before firing. It turns infantry into spotters for robots.

The Marker, and presumably the robots that will be based on it, can also be guided remotely, which makes the human spotter a bonus and not a limitation.

Also appearing in the video is a swarm of five quadcopters, joined by two more swarms of five quadcopters each. The drones might be assisting the Marker in targeting, or, at least, the video is edited in such a way to suggest that the flying swarm and the ground robot are linked.