Military operations in dense urban environments present challenges to mission accomplishment. Many situations call for neutralizing enemy combatants that would use a (sometimes ‘protected') building as defilade from allied direct fire. Merely identifying and distinguishing, tracking, and separating combatants from non-combatants is an almost impossible task given current operational paradigms. Paramount is the need to avoid civilian casualties.
The urban environment causes communications problems and line-of-sight limitations-bound situational awareness. Adversaries may hide amongst the civilian population and obfuscate logistical support among a network of safe houses and subterranean tunnels. When buildings are destroyed, obstacles are created. Room-to-room clearing of the urban battlefield is cumbersome and dangerous. The use of autonomous agents for non-lethal engagement would exploit technological trends in the commercial sector. Such trends comprise, but are not limited to, Internet-of-Things and sensor networks, Cloud storage, Big Data analytics, and ubiquitous internet. Military thrusts in GPS-denied, Electronic Warfare-hardening, and anti-tamper technologies enable future use of automated systems in integrated ways. Advances in, and novel uses of, non- lethal technologies paired with increasingly autonomous systems will enable advanced strategies.