Battle Management Language for Robotic Systems

Experiences from Applications on an UGV and an USV
  • Rikke Amilde SeehuusEmail author
  • Kim Mathiassen
  • Else-Line Malene Ruud
  • Aleksander Skjerlie Simonsen
  • Fredrik Hermansen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11472)


Unmanned systems are gradually becoming more autonomous, meaning they can perform more tasks with less micromanagement. These systems will have increasing importance in military operations over the next years. For communication with these systems, a language that is unambiguous and machine interpretable is needed. Battle management language (BML) refers to such a language, which can be used to exchange digitized forms of orders, reports and requests. BML has mainly been developed to support inter-operation among command and control (C2) systems and C2 and simulation systems, but BML has also been used for robotic systems. The only standardized BML so far is coalition battle management language (C-BML), which specifically addresses the needs associated with coalition operation.

In this paper we describe our effort in applying BML to an unmanned surface vehicle and an unmanned ground vehicle. The unmanned systems are able to autonomously perform tasks like move from A to B, move along a route, patrol, and survey an area. However, transition from teleoperated systems to more autonomous systems is progressing gradually, meaning we still want at least the possibility to provide relatively detailed instructions to the robotic system. In addition, the ability to make small adjustments of the behavior is sometimes useful. We find that there is a gap between the standards for teleoperation and BML in its current form and would like a discussion on how to best fill this gap. Our preliminary solutions are presented in this paper.


Robotic systems Autonomous systems UGV USV Battle management langauge 


  1. 1.
    Google Protocol Buffers. Accessed 3 Aug 2018
  2. 2.
    Alstad, A., Løvlid, R.A., Bruvoll, S., Nielsen, M.N.: Autonomous battalion simulation for training and planning integrated with a command and control information system. FFI-rapport 2013/01547, Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt (2013)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brook, A.: UK experiences of using coalition battle management language. In: Proceedings of the 15th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Distributed Simulation and Real Time Applications (2011).
  4. 4.
    Bruvoll, S., et al.: Simulation-suported wargaming for analysis of plans. In: Proceedings of the NATO Modelling and Simulation Group Symposium M&S Support to Operational Tasks Including War Gaming, Logistics, Cyber Defence (MSG-133) (2015)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Carey, S., Kleiner, M., Hieb, M., Brown, R.: Standardizing battle management language - a vital move towards the army transformation. In: Proceedings of the 2001 Fall Simulation Interoperability Workshop, 01F-SIW-067 (2001)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Carey, S., Kleiner, M., Hieb, M., Brown, R.: Standardizing battle management language - facilitating coalition interoperability. In: Proceedings of the 2002 European Simulation Interoperability Workshop, 02E-SIW-OO5 (2002)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Garmendia-Doval, A., García-Juliá, I.: C-BML orders in a course of action analysis simulator. In: Proceedings of the 2008 Euro Simulation Interoperability Workshop, 08E-SIW-037 (2008)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hodicky, J.: Standards to support military autonomous system life cycle. In: Březina, T., Jabłoński, R. (eds.) MECHATRONICS 2017. AISC, vol. 644, pp. 671–678. Springer, Cham (2018). Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hodicky, J., Prochazka, D.: Challenges in the implementation of autonomous systems into the battlefield. In: Proceedings of the 2017 International conference on Military Technologies (2017).
  10. 10.
    Huang, H.M. (ed.): Autonomy levels for unmanned systems (ALFUS) framework volume i: terminology. Special Publication 1011-I-2.0, National Institute of Standards and Technology (2008)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kruger, K., Frey, M., Schade, U.: Battle management language: military communication with simulated forces. In: NATO RTO MSG-056 Symposium on Improving M&S Interoperability, Re-Use and Efficiency in Support of Current and Future Forces (2007)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mathiassen, K., Baksaas, M., Olsen, L.E., Thoresen, M., Tveit, B.: Development of an autonomous off-road vehicle for surveillance missions. In: Proceedings of IST-127/RSM-003 Specialists’ Meeting in Intelligence & Autonomy in Robotics. NATO Science and Technology Organization, Bonn, Germany, October 2016Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    NATO Modeling & Simulation Group 048: Coalition battle management language (C-BML) - NMSG-048 final report. RTO-TR-MSG-048, NATO Research and Technology Organization (2012)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    NATO Modeling & Simulation Group 085: Standardisation for C2-simulation interoperability - final report of NMSG-085. STO-TR-MSG-085, NATO Science and Technology Organization (2015)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rein, K., Remmersmann, T., Schade, U., Trautwein, I.: Command and control lexical grammar for commanding teams of robots (Robot-C2LG). Fraunhofer FKIE (2015)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Remmersmann, T., Schade, U., Rein, K., Tiderko, A.: BML for communicating with multi-robot systems. In: Proceedings of the 2015 Fall Simulation Interoperability Workshop (2015)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Remmersmann, T., Schade, U., Schlick, C.M.: Interactive multi-robot command and control with quasi-natural command language. In: Proceedings of the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (2014).
  18. 18.
    Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO): Standard for Coalition Battle Management Language (C-BML) Phase 1, SISO-STD-011-2014 (2014)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Tolk, A., Dially, S.: A system view of C-BML. In: Proceedings of the 2007 Fall Simulation Interoperability Workshop, 07F-SIW-054 (2007)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Wiig, M.S., Løvlid, R.A., Mathiassen, K., Krogstad, T.R.: Decision autonomy for unmanned vehicles. In: Proceedings of IST-127/RSM-003 Specialists’ Meeting in Intelligence & Autonomy in Robotics. NATO Science and Technology Organization, Bonn, Germany, October 2016Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI)KjellerNorway

Personalised recommendations