The British military has successfully tested a series of robots in combat roles. With the skies already packed with flocks of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and the oceans swimming with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), it is time for the ground counterpart to assume a bigger role in today’s and tomorrow’s battlefields.

In the large-scale exercise Autonomous Warrior, the British Army tested under adverse conditions over 70 autonomous combat systems, such as drones with enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

More than 50 of these projects made it through the assessment and selection process and will be moving through to the next phase of the programme, which will test their capabilities in resupplying frontline troops, enhancing command and control (C&C) on the combat zone, and providing battlefield surveillance. Particular importance was given to what the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) called the “Last Mile” of resupply. This refers to the potentially highly dangerous distance that might separate frontline troops from their supply assets. It also suggests a move toward more conventional conflicts, where established fronts would be more likely than the confused battleground that U.S. and U.K. troops have been facing for the past years in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

“Our troops now have the chance to test out a huge range of robotic kit in what will be the biggest exercise of its kind in our history,” said Gavin Williamson, the British Defence Secretary. “We’re always working with the brightest minds in Britain and across the world to see how they can support our military of the future, but now the frontrunners have the chance to prove what they can really do on a battlefield. This equipment could revolutionise our Armed Forces, keeping them safe and giving them the edge in an increasingly unstable world,” added Williamson.