LESS-LETHAL PAYLOADS FOR ROBOTIC AND AUTOMATED RESPONSE SYSTEMS

HOBART RAY EVERETT, GREG KOGUT, LARRY DRYMON, BRANDON SIGHTS, AND KELLY GRANT

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego, California

1 BACKGROUND

The numerous types of less-lethal weapons developed over the past several decades represent a natural application payload for the growing number of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) now being employed in military, security, and law-enforcement scenarios. For the most part, however, these UGVs are all teleoperated, and thus suffer from real-time control problems because of communication latencies, poor situational awareness, and unacceptable burden imposed upon the operator. The incorporation of teleoperated lethal/less-lethal weapons on such systems further exacerbates the situation, resulting in unacceptable performance in all but the most simplistic cases.

In 1996, US Department of Defense Directive 3000.3 defined nonlethal weapons as follows [1]: “Weapons that are explicitly designed and primarily employed so as to incapacitate personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property and the environment.” When it later became apparent that many of these so-called nonlethal systems could under certain circumstances prove fatal, the more appropriate terminology “less lethal” was generally adopted instead.

A large number of less-lethal munitions have evolved over the years [2], most of which can generally be ...

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