Science

The robot dogs are now equipped with assault rifles.

Last updated on 10/20/2021

The usefulness of robot dogs for military applications is becoming undeniable.

The robot, developed by Ghost Robotics and SWORD International, is a new version of the military that was unveiled at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army held in Washington DC last week.

The robot called Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle or SPUR is equipped with a powerful 6.5mm sniper rifle. It has day and night cameras and an effective range of 1,200 meters.

Robots for dogs are highly mobile, capable of traversing rough terrain that can be difficult for wheeled or tracked machines, and they can operate with a high degree of autonomy.

However, Ghost Robotics CEO Jiren Parikh is quick to dismiss any idea that the sniper rifle is an autonomous weapons system.

“It is completely controlled by a remote operator,” says Parikh. “There is a human who controls the weapon, there is no autonomy or AI.”

He explains that customers chose the robot for its ability to move over difficult terrain, allowing it to take a suitable firing position for snipers. This applies both outdoors and in urban areas where, for example, you can climb stairs. During this time, the operator can remain hidden, out of the line of fire.

The image of a futuristic-looking and potentially lethal weapon attached to a quadruped robot has received very strong reactions (most of which are negative) in the media and on social media in recent days.

“I think we will have to socialize these types of robots for the next five to ten years, in small steps, and I hope that people will get used to it and understand the benefits for our soldiers. But we know it can be scary. We also have families and we also think about these things, ”says Parikh.

The Drive, IEEE Spectrum, NewScientist

robot dog with assault rifle Credit: Ghost Robotics and SWORD International

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