Robot Wars - New Machines for the Battlefield


As more and more unmanned drones are used in conflicts the question arises: Will the next war be fought by robots? Unmanned airplanes, boats and land vehicles are already used to strike targets and gather information without a pilot being necessary. Today almost a third of all military aircraft flown by Americans are drones.

Scientists are now working on robots that can fight on the ground. Unmanned tanks and other vehicles are being designed to explore enemy territory, while humans can control their moves from a safe distance. They can collect information and intelligence without putting any soldiers at risk. One of the main reasons for unmanned weapons is to reduce casualties on the battlefield.


Although most of these weapons have been used and tested by the United States military, the US is not alone in the development of such robots. Already there are over 50 nations that have started developing robots for military use. Israel has installed robot machine guns along their borders but there are always humans there to decide whether to shoot or not.


While armed robots for combat missions are still science fiction there are plans to develop metal warriors. Such an invention on the battlefield could greatly change how wars are fought, just like the advent of gunpowder or the atomic bomb.

Many military experts, however, are against the deployment of such killer robots. They find it unethical and think that wars should still be carried out by fighting humans. On the other side, a war with killer machines would be no more brutal than it is today. In the past years American drones have killed over 2000 people in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The use of robots in wars is relatively cheap. Equipped with high tech computers they can gather much more information than humans and process it more quickly. Drones have successfully been used in Afghanistan and Iraq. Remote controlled ground robots have been helpful in discovering bombs and mines in war-torn regions.

One problem, however, is who makes the decisions in combat situations. As robots become more sophisticated, it could be more difficult to find out who pulled the trigger and who is responsible for an attack. In addition, countries using such high-tech unmanned weapons may attack more quickly as robot soldiers and weapons means  fewer casualties and better chances of success.

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  • advent = coming
  • although = while
  • arise = come up
  • battlefield = place where a war is fought
  • border = a line that separates two countries
  • causality = a dead or injured person
  • combat mission = important job in which soldiers fight on the ground
  • conflict = war or argument between two groups of people or countries
  • design = create
  • development = creation, building
  • drone = airplane without a person flying it
  • equip = to give someone the things that they need for the work that they do
  • explore = find out something for the first time
  • gather = get
  • gunpowder = material used in bombs and fireworks
  • human = a person
  • in addition = also
  • install = put into use
  • intelligence = important information that is used in wars and conflicts
  • invention = new development
  • military = army
  • military aircraft = planes used by armies
  • mine = bomb that is hidden under the ground and that explodes when you step on it
  • move =here: what they do and the direction they move
  • necessary = needed
  • process = work through; get answers
  • pull the trigger = shoot, start a weapon
  • reduce = lower
  • remote control = controlling how something moves from faraway, using radio signals
  • responsible = to blame ; to be someone’s fault
  • scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a laboratory
  • sophisticated = complicated, highly developed
  • strike = hit
  • tank = a heavy military machine that moves on the ground  and has large guns; it runs on two metal belts instead of wheels
  • territory = land
  • unethical = not right
  • unmanned= without anybody in them
  • use = using something
  • vehicle = machine with an engine that can move from one place to another
  • warrior = soldier
  • war-torn = areas in which wars and conflicts are fought
  • weapon = something that you use in a war to fight against an enemy, like a gun or a bomb