[Letters] Crisis response system using unmanned robots

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[Letters] Crisis response system using unmanned robots

As illustrated with the artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island and the sinking of the Cheonan warship, citizens are disappointed with the negligent preparations by the government and military. In order to improve readiness, a comprehensive overhaul is demanded that goes beyond changes to the rules of engagement, weapons upgrades or the emplacement of additional units. A prompt disaster and crisis response system is needed. Whenever and wherever a crisis occurs, accurate and timely information should be collected to make an immediate response. We need to establish a 3A3F system: Fast Sense, Fast Decision and Fast Reaction for Anytime, Anywhere and Any-Disaster.

A large number of unmanned robots representing the armed forces should be placed at key points around the country. If an urgent situation occurs, the robots will be mobilized to respond. Information will be shared through communications networks from the ground-level commander to the commander in chief by monitoring video images from the crisis region. The technologically advanced equipment systems will be used for both military and civilian purposes.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are the most useful means for gathering information. UAVs have evolved from the initial reconnaissance stage with larger UAVs now used for attacks. Small UAVs serve as both unit-level scout planes and as self-detonating weapons.

Depending on the location of the crisis or incident, unmanned vehicles or underwater robots can be used. If unmanned submarines that can operate in deep seas are developed in various sizes and are put into actual use, we might be able to reduce the loss of precious lives such as the sacrifice of Warrant Officer Han Joo-ho, who died in the aftermath of the sinking of the Cheonan.

We desperately need world-class technology to build a system that connects unmanned drones of various sizes that can move freely using information technology and a solid communication infrastructure. If we use local technology to establish a system to collect and share pertinent information in a short period of time, and can enhance the situational awareness of the command infrastructure, it will be the world’s first national security management system built on civilian technology.

The ongoing crisis is the best opportunity to deviate from the conventional, analogue response systems and build a digital technology-based, civilian-military system through the collaboration of experts in the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. If we use South Korea as the test bed and verify the effect, the 3A3F civilian-military system will make a critical contribution to the safety and security of the country. At the same time, the new comprehensive state security management technology industry will be exported to the international market.

Yoon Gwang-jun, Professor of Aerospace Information Engineering at Konkuk University.
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