To keep soldiers off the battlefield where possible, agencies like the Department of the Defense require the best military robotics systems.

Unmanned aircraft provide surveillance and reconnaissance in a way that reduces human presence and proximity to danger. Quadruped robots, similarly, have been tested alongside armed forces in special-mission, high-risk scenarios.

This sophisticated set of military robotics relies on a range of motion-control components. Drones require engine tachometers and motors to drive telescoping antennas and steer the aircraft. Four-legged robots call for joints and hydraulic actuators.

But what's next with military motion control?

In a webinar this week titled Military Robotics, a reader had the following questions for Eric Barton, a Market Segment Specialist from Allied Motion Technologies, an Amherst, NY-based manufacturer of advanced motion-control components:

"Where do you see aerospace and defense motion control technology going in the future? And what are the industry's greatest challenges to meet these future needs?"

Read Eric's edited response below.

Eric Barton, Market Segment Specialist – Aerospace & Defense, Allied Motion Technologies: Some common challenges that we’re seeing with the Department of Defense these days is that they want to engage with the enemy at longer distances.

The drone systems need to be equipped with motion control that can travel farther and do more in a smaller amount of space.

Other challenges that we’re seeing are related to miniaturizing motion control into much smaller packages, and reducing backlash too. Backlash is a common challenge with aerial and vibration-related solutions.

We see the motion control industry going towards more power-dense solutions, unique packaging methods, and the creating of motors that can handle inertias in a different way than was typically done in years past.

The controller piece of motion is being more condensed. We’re integrating controllers right onto the motor to reduce cabling, noise, and provide a more condensed solution that can be placed in the field a lot easier.

That’s where we see the robotic industry going for the Department of Defense.

Do you agree? Share your comments and questions below.