The men and women of the U.S. Army pledge to protect and defend the American people from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. However, that can be a challenge if they end up behind the technological curve.
Fort Benning on Thursday invited more than 200 national and international leaders in robotics, autonomous systems, and technological innovation to collaborate at this year’s Industry Day. The goal is to maintain an open dialogue on the latest advancements to keep military members on pace with the changing times.
“I will admit that I am sometimes dismayed by the speed at which our potential opponents are able to develop capabilities,” says retired Brigadier General Philip Coker, who is now the President of EOS Defense Systems USA.
“We’re here because communication is always the toughest challenge you’re going to face in these kinds of situations. Understanding is key… in an environment where the government may not understand what’s technically capable and at the same time, we may not understand fully what the government envisions.”
“It’s an educational process for us to really understand what’s out there for industry and an educational process for industry to understand what we’re looking for. So it’s really a leveling of the playing field,” explains Colonel Thomas Nelson, Robotics Requirements Director for the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
Industry Day participants were able to ask questions on and hear updates about an initial capabilities document they received before the event — which detailed the obstacles the army seeks to overcome.
Col. Nelson says the Army hopes the tech savvy attendees will take the information and use it to innovate new advancements protecting men and women in uniform.
“The sooner they can get back to their corporate headquarters, the more collaboration that can take place and we believe that will generate solutions, potential material solutions, that we can field to the war fighter,” he says.
“Nobody sits up in the morning and says, I need a robot. What they do is they sit up and say, I don’t want to be killed, I don’t want to be burned, I don’t want to have to do boring things, and a robot becomes an answer to that,” Coker says.