HomeScience & TechnologyThe machine revolt: Weapons are placed on robot dogs

The machine revolt: Weapons are placed on robot dogs

Four-legged robots, also known as robot dogs, are one of the most exciting developments in robotics recent years. They are small, agile and able to cross environments that are inaccessible to wheeled vehicles. Of course, it was only a matter of time before someone put weapons in them.

robot dogs

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Such a four-legged robot, a unit Vision 60 manufactured by the American company Ghost Robotics, equipped with a weapon by small arms experts Sword International. The weapon itself (called the SPUR or "unmanned rifle") appears to have been designed to be mounted on a variety of robotic platforms. It has a 30x optical zoom, thermal camera for aiming in the dark and a range of 1.200 meters.

What is not clear is whether Sword International or Ghost Robotics are currently selling this combination of weapon and robot. "SWORD Defense Systems SPUR is the future of unmanned weapons systems and this future is now," he said. website the company's.

The machine was first unveiled at the United States Association's annual conference in 2021 earlier this week.

The details of the collaboration between Ghost and Sword are unclear, but Ghost four-legged robots are already being tested by the US military. Last year, the 325th Squadron of the security forces at the air base Tyndall in Florida became the first Department of Defense unit to use robotic dogs in regular operations. He uses them to patrol the perimeter of the base and navigate swampy areas that are "inaccessible to humans and vehicles," according to an interview with Ghost Robotics CEO. Jiren Parikh.

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Although recognition is one of the most obvious uses for robot dogs, manufacturers experiment gradually with other payloads. In addition to providing remote video recording and mapping, the machines could be used as mobile cell towers to defuse bombs or to detect chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material (otherwise known as CBRNs).

And of course the same weapons can be made.

Η Boston Dynamics, the most well-known manufacturer of four-legged robots and manufacturer of Spot, has a strict policy for arming its engines. Other manufacturers, however, are less selective. After all, many companies already sell firearms platforms that use paws or wheels, so adding the same basic kit to motorized machines is not that difficult.

The biggest question is how these robots will develop in the future and what level of surveillance will be required when they start firing at humans.

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For some time now, experts have been warning of an increase in the use of "killer robots" (known as lethal autonomous weapon systems, or LAWS, in official terminology), and official US policy does not prohibit their development.

Many groups are campaigning for a precautionary ban on such systems, but in the meantime it looks like companies will continue to experiment with them. And that means putting weapons even on robot dogs.

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