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In the near future, the military deploys hundred of thousands of combat ready powered armours for peace keeping purpose around the world, they carry heavy weapons and an array of sophisticated sensors to help detect threats and also feed back the situation on the ground to their respective command centers. During peace time fighter pilot can put their plane on autopilot so s/he can work on other things like observe the ground below or report sitrep, then what about powered armour can they go autopilot too? If so how is it different from an autonomous combat robot or a drone or do their autopilot works entirely different?

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    $\begingroup$ Airplanes need to maintain forward flight to have lift to avoid crashing. Power armor doesn't have that disadvantage; it could stand around just as easily as a person, a jeep, or a tank. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ The questions at the end of this are very different than the question in the title. Can you highlight what question you really want answered (Stack Exchange is built around focusing on one question, so that voting is simpler) $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ One thing that might be useful: airplane autopilots are not "the plane pilots for you." They are typically designed to disengage the moment anything gets complicated, so you are expected to still be there, ready to fly at any moment. The except would be the disaster recovery autopilots like we see in some fighters which keep the plane from crashing if the pilot becomes incapacitated. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:03

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Different? what you should be asking yourself is, why have it manned at all? the cost of power armor troops is somewhere between 10 to 58 times that of a regular soldier. as seen Here, soldiers already expensive, however, something like the scouts from the film Chappie, would be roughly half the total cost of a single US army serviceman, which would be a over a 7% total cost saving of the US defense budget, which in case wondering, in 2019 alone it was $686 billion as seen here.

guys, a 7% cost savings in that much money would be $48 billion!

Enough to give everybody living in the USA a stimulus check of $150.00 each month for life. Just from using drones in the place of combat troops.

i should note that if there was power armor, the total cost would mean that every parson living in the united states now pays an extra $4,000.00 a months in taxes, which is impossible. so at the end of the day, it's almost a guarantee that power armor will never be a thing.

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  • $\begingroup$ But maybe you need less soldiers if they are more effective? And so cost would not increase? $\endgroup$
    – RancidCrab
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 11:38
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Standing still is the equivalent of autopilot

If you're looking for an analog to putting a fighter jet on autopilot, you might consider standing still. In powered armor, standing still can require a lot of processing power. Balance is still a work in progress for robots, but the past decade has seen huge improvements. Think of it like hovering in a helicopter: it may not look impressive, but there are a lot of forces at work. Maybe your soldiers have a button they can push to tell the armor to stand still. This is different from robots and drones, which might be more likely to lie on the ground and save energy, which is harder to do when you have a human inside who wants to keep looking around.

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I disagree about "just standing there". That's okay if you're standing on flat concrete - maybe.

Trying to balance with heavy armour and weapons (which disturb the balance every time they are moved) is way beyond human muscle power. Balance and walking will need gyroscopic sensors to be in operation constantly. Also of course, heavy armour is going to restrict your vision, both because of the armour getting in the way and because head movements will be restricted. There must be a constant vigilance in all directions to prevent a sneak attack from behind. Constant intelligent movement-detection will be essential.

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Heres a short list (depending on the size/type of suit

  1. Damage reporting and maintenance scheduling: The suit would have to monitor its own systems and report damage caused by wear and tear or battle to the operator. It would also keep a running update on its repair and maintenance schedules and post battle might recommend parts for replacement (e.g a section of armor that stopped a hit but based on the kinetic impact might now be suspect unless checked for integrity.
  1. ELINT and IFF/threat detection; the suit would/could identify hostile active communications and targeting systems in the local area as well as the locations of friendly units/squad mates. e.g if the suit was 'lased' by a enemy targeting system it you alert the wear as to the threat direction and if known type.
  2. Automatic countermeasure launching; (If equipped) if the suit detects an incoming round or drone etc and possesses (albeit limited) active armor or countermeasure pods it might will handle countermeasure launching.
  3. Ammo and stores expenditure;
  4. Detection of poison gas and bio-warfare hazards;
  5. Communications management; basic frequency changes, data receipt & broadcast management;

Note: smaller suits would probably lack pints 2 & 3 and 4.

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You'll want this power armor to make a difference like it was between muskets and automatics. Otherwise it's just not worth it.

So it should detect incoming bullets, turn the body so that the wearer is getting the impact at a safe angle, while at the same time shooting an ai drone or a bullet in the exact direction from where the aggression was coming. This requires superhuman reaction times, all kinds of automatics for monitoring and reaction, a kind of AI to prevent friendly fire, superhuman precision... in fact it will reduce the work of a soldier to a kind of commander.

The soldier has to decide in which kind of alert state he wants his suit to be, how much of the autonomous function he wants activated, talk with his comrades about tactics, oversee the tactical map, check and decide constantly if his information is good or if it was corrupted somehow, send a couple of his surveillance drones to check the area, decide when and how to send his stack of aggressive drones.

But.

Given all this, it might be better not to be inside the suit. Metal takes higher g-force than meat. You'll need a good storyline to tell us why there is meat inside the technique.

Maybe the soldiers are inside because then they are more alert than outside?

Maybe they are there to put a break on the KI and to prevent an event spiralling into a total war in a split second?

Whatever you think of, it must be a very good reason. Weapons work better without humans today, the difference will be a lot more pronounced in a sci-fi scenario.

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Manned powered armor in auto-pilot doesn't have much utility unless the wearer is dead or unconscious. Asleep would be different since we humans find it difficult to sleep while walking around, shooting guns, throwing grenades, etc.

Since powered armor needs to be self-balancing and self-correcting, then it ought to be able to walk around on its own, if someone or something gave it commands.

Assuming this operational mode is for either autonomous operation or taking over when the soldier is out of commission, it needs

  1. to be able to walk around and take cover without supervision.
  2. to return fire automatically if attacked, subject to ROE
  3. to mesh with other units to coordinate responses and intelligence, for instance, they need to be able to work with other drones and advance on a hostile force and engage it using effective infantry tactics, and maybe even armor tactics.
  4. to Self-destruct if in danger of capture.
  5. to selectively archive data of engagements. By selectively, I mean they can record everything and save it, but when storage gets full, they intelligently erase data that isn't relevant like maybe the last 40 days of boring patrol duty where nothing happened. Only need first and last day since everything in between was effectively the same.
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  • $\begingroup$ The question did state that the suit in question was 'manned' i.e. someone is wearing/operating i - as opposed to remote/tele-operation as per a drone. $\endgroup$
    – Mon
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Mon, Ah... It's in the title, I didn't get that. Well, then it's a stupid question, and I'll vote to close because its existence annoys me. $\endgroup$
    – EDL
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 15:18

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