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  (Source: Gizmodo)
U.S. Army places three gun-toting robots in Iraq

When it comes to robots on the battlefield, the U.S. military has a virtual skunkworks of contraptions roaming the ground and air.

In December, DailyTech reported on the iRobot PackBot which can detect enemy AK-47 gunfire via its Robot Enhanced Detection Outpost with Lasers (REDOWL) system. Just a few months ago, iRobot showed off its SUGV Early (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle) which weighs in at 30 pounds -- this is compared to 44 pounds for the iRobot PackBot.

The U.S. Army is stepping up things in the battlefield robot arena dramatically with its new Special Weapons Observation Remote reconnaissance Direct action System (SWORDS). Three SWORDS robots were deployed in Iraq and their capabilities put human soldiers out of harm’s way.

Each robot can carry up to three M249 machines guns which are controlled by a soldier through a remote terminal. This means that every shot fired will have to be approved by a human -- the robot will not start firing without prior authorization.

As of today, no shots have been fired by the robots on the battlefield.

"Anytime you utilize technology to take a U.S. service member out of harm’s way, it is worth every penny," said John Saitta of Smart Business Advisory and Consulting. "These armed robots can be used as a force multiplier to augment an already significant force in the battle space."

The Army is pleased with the three SWORDS robots that it now has, but has requested an additional 80 for combat use. Unfortunately for the Army, additional funding has not been approved for the purchase.

"As [soldiers] use them and like them, I’ve heard positive feedback, they want 20 more immediately. It’s a shame we can’t get them to them," said SWORDS program manager Michael Zecca.

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RE: And yet...
By TedStriker on 8/3/2007 11:54:55 AM , Rating: 3
Give it time. Soon, they will realize that making it bipedal will allow it to go to the same places a human soldier can. Then just a few more inivations till we get the T-1000

RE: And yet...
By augiem on 8/3/2007 1:21:40 PM , Rating: 3
Sure, but when comparing physical capabilities of humans to other things in nature, we suck. Why limit the robots to our physiology?

They're better off making killer robot monkeys or birds or bugs or something.

RE: And yet...
By geddarkstorm on 8/3/2007 4:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
Only for specific purpose applications. The human form is the best multi-purpose robust form I can think of, and hence why we dominant over other animals. Intellect is only part of the equation, as it doesn't matter if it can't be utilized.

RE: And yet...
By mindless1 on 8/5/2007 9:25:00 PM , Rating: 2
No, we dominate over animals due to our brains, intellect - inventions including shelters and weaponry, and teamwork. You versus a lion, go ahead and tell me you'd win. He'd chew your opposable thumbs right off. You're half right though, this IS a special purpose.

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