CHENNAI: After successfully churning out supersonic and subsonic missiles, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is planning to keep up with the technological changes in modern day weaponry and warfare.

DRDO chairman S Christopher said the public sector R&D unit was planning to focus on artificial intelligence and robotics in the coming years. Speaking at a press conference at DefExpo 2018 on Friday, Christopher said the organisation was focusing on a few new projects including upgrade of existing products for which 30% of the total funds were being allocated. “Artificial intelligence would be a focus area,” he added.

The organisation, however, is not working based on a request from the defence forces. “Rather we are taking a proactive approach to ensure that India should have the capability to have artificial intelligence-based systems including the command and control system for example,” said Subrata Rakshit of Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, one of the lab that belongs to DRDO.

He also said AI could be used effectively by the defence forces when a complete digitisation happens. Indian Navy is working to digitise its ships, he said.

DRDO displayed a few of its robots at its stall in the expo. The robots can move in different terrains and can interact with one another. An official said these robots are ideal for deployment inside buildings in urban areas and can offer a sense of the terrain to army personnel before they move in. An official said the robots were in the process of being inducted into the armed forces.

Christopher said future plans included a long range (1,000 km) radar, self-protection suites and electro optics for submarines, variants of armoured vehicles like ambulances and other services, Aerostat-based deep penetrating surveillance on a MiG plane, a lighter version of BrahMos missile that could be launched from ships, submarines, planes and others.