The only real advantage humans have over robots is their stamina and fine motor skills. This would make them a cheap and excellent repair drone, but there are certain problems.

What biological modifications should I make to humans to enable them to act as efficient on-field repair crew?

They're effective when:

  • They have a decent chance of survival in a drone infested battlefield, i.e: they can avoid and/or (barely) survive getting shot.
  • Capable of quick and precise work under extreme stress, and they mostly repair stuff that's too large for nanites to handle.


  • Drones are the same as the ones we have today, maybe slightly bigger, also, we have drone tanks.
  • Nanites exist but work slow and only good at fixing small delicate mechanisms (i.e: microchips).
  • Drones now have aimbots.
  • Moravec's paradox
  • Humans should be adaptable to any terrain with some extra gear (winter coat). For drones, terrain and climate is not an issue.
  • $\begingroup$ What sort of weapons are common in your worlds battlefield? this could drastically change the types of improvements required. also its worth noting that different terrain requires different drones IRL, so the same would probably be true in your world. no use putting the modified to endure extreme colds drones into the sahara. and vice versa, so what terrains would you expect to make the drones effective for? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ Not a biological mod (so not a direct answer), but a potential solution could be telepresence robots. Squishy human is in a bunker or armored vehicle, in a partial VR rig that feeds him video from robots cameras, and lets him control robot's arms. Robot could be connected by a cable to the same "engineering" vehicle where the operator is at, reducing lag and interference. And ofc robot can be as armored as necessary $\endgroup$
    – Bald Bear
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ @BaldBear This is why I keep jamming their radios with Johnny Guitar. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles that's why I have robot on a cable. Cable is harder to jam from a distance, and it can be shielded, or fiberoptic which you cannot jam at all. $\endgroup$
    – Bald Bear
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ @BaldBear Good, another element that can be damaged and will need repair. You folks are giving me top-notch story ideas. Seriously, it's awesome! Reminds me of CoD 2. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 15:59

4 Answers 4


Drones are only fighting other drones.

Consider satellite weapons and anti satellite weapons. Some of this stuff might be able to hurt a person but none of it is designed with killing humans in mind, and humans are not even direct combatants in that sort of war.

So too drones. They are autonomous intelligences, fighting each other at high speed, using sabonanites, wire bolos, vortex cannons, EMP pulses and the like. Humans are not threats or combatants. Under the gently crackling drone battle the kids bike to school, farmers tend their fields, babies are rocked to sleep. The battle rages in a space shared with but removed from the human space.

Humans could attack a drone using anti drone weaponry in the same way a human could catch a fly with chopsticks. Theoretically possible but the drones are perceiving, thinking and reacting orders of magnitude faster than a human can. A human drawing an anti drone weapon would find the weapon inactivated shortly after pulling it out of its holster. Or find that without his noticing it the weapon had been inactivated, silently, at some prior time.

Humans can do what humans do and what the OP proposed: mosey along, salvage parts, do some field repairs.


I think that they require barely none on the battlefields you describe, only perhaps a few drugs to temporarily reduce fear.

In the scenario you describe humans arent just handy for repair, but the resources they consume. Food might require a lot of work to be cultivated, transported and prepared but the human using it isnt guzzling gasoline or electricity. Considering we already entered an age where warfare becomes impossible if you dont have access to fuel sources it would be an incredible nightmare to have massive armies of drones zooming about. I even had the idea of putting humans on velomobiles, which are low bycicles capable of doing 90km/h and carrying 200kg of luggage. This would further reduce the fuel consumption of humans and make certain logistical trains concerning humans much less problematic for your fuel economy.

You mention humans would need to be good at in-battle repairs, I would advice against this. Right now what you do is try and get the vehicle out of the way, repair it as far as you need to so it can either return to the fight or be transported back to a facility without further damage. The humans would more likely be part of a repairgroup close to the frontline where they use an armored engineering vehicle or an engineering drone drags broken and damaged drones off the battlefield for human repairs before being send either further back for better repairs (or salvaging) or back to the front (I'm getting a MASH vibe here but with less human casualties, could be interesting).


I would just give them something to hyper clot their blood if they are shot or otherwise injured. Shock is by far the easiest way for a human to become incapacitated on a battlefield, so by preventing large bleed outs you are patching the biggest hole that humans have.

Of course, they may not survive after the battle, but they should be able to keep going even after taking damage so long as they don't bleed out.

On the other hand, the easiest way to counter humans is to use Aoe attacks such as nepalm, shrapnel grenades, and gases. It wouldn't take as much time to aim, and fires and gasses would be better at destroying humans than kinetic weapons.


The way I see it, though humans hold the advantage of having stamina, fine-motor skills and ability to survive under unprecedented conditions due to ingenuity, they have a thousand cons: They form relationships, which would make them weak/hotheaded if their loved ones were to be endangered or killed. They can be moody, distracted and overall sometimes not do a very good job. They let feelings come into their duty and waste a quarter of their life sleeping and an eight of it eating.

Now the ways to fix this would be to:

  1. Give them a special upbringing, i.e- Don't give them names, just serial no.s and don't encourage talks of humanism, community, work ethics, culture.

  2. Make them absolutely prone to caffeine/futuristic drug to revitalize them so they can easily get back to full capacity with no or little notice.

P.s. This was my first time writing an answer on any Q&A website, period. Please do tell how I can improve my answers.

Edit 1: The drones are to be trained in the Prometheous School of Running Away from Things, that is to say that they should be trained for war situations like a civilian living in a dangerous war torn area.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm sure there are better alternatives than going full Daughters of Aku, and we're still concerned with the drone's survival on the battlefield, feel free to add that part in if you came up with a solution. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles You're absolutely right. Agreed. But this my view point. I'm sure there are other ways to do it, and I am merely giving a way to do it form my own imagination. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 8:50

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