As a part of China’s People’s Liberation Army’s continued modernization efforts, China is now experimenting with converting outdated tank platforms into unmanned combat drones.
Footage released to the public last Wednesday on state-owned television shows a Type 59 Chinese tank being maneuvered via remote control, using a steering wheel and dual screened console to manage the tasks of tank operation. Although the video does not say, it seems likely that the two screens represent a navigational view of the front of the tank and a bore-sight view for targeting the tanks main weapons system, a 100mm gun.
From the outside, the only difference in the tank’s appearance seems to be two external antennas, mounted to the top of the tank’s turret.
According to the statements made in Chinese state media, however, the People’s Liberation Army doesn’t intend to stop with remote controlled tanks, they eventually hope to move toward using artificial intelligence to permit the tanks to conduct autonomous operations.