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The UK is looking to augment human power with robotic aid. It has recently  reintroduce the Black Hornet, a palm-sized aerial scout that the UK retired in 2017. Recently, the UK’s Royal Marines practiced a military exercise that included landing on Tregantle, Southwest England, with their approach overseen by robots in the sea, on the land and in the air.

Under the cover of darkness and the watchful sensors of a drone overhead, the marines brought their landing craft to the shore. Scouting ahead in the water were what appeared to be light boats, adapted to run without an onboard operator.

On the hills above the beach, observing the advance below, were autonomous vehicles made by QinetiQ. Roughly the size of a car, the modular Titan platform sported a turret features missiles and a machine gun. Titan is a hybrid, unmanned ground vehicle that provides soldier safety and support for small military dismounted operations. This UGV features a multi-mission, reconfigurable platform that increases unit effectiveness while increasing soldier safety.

Exercises such as Commando Warrior are at least as much about gathering data as they are implementing training. The data collected by the surveillance robots was relayed to the relevant human teams, appearing in digestible actionable intelligence on hand-held tablets. It was also relayed to the Commando headquarters, and humans not actively in the exercise were on hand at Tregantle to watch how the robots handled the challenge.

The presence of the Titan robots on the hills suggests one of two possible future scenarios for war. The first, and less likely one, is that before humans land on a beach, the robots would be covertly deployed, and then set up to provide protection. The other, likelier possibility is that the Titans represented the robots of the defender, a hazard and threat to plan around, avoid or defeat, according to