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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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Without reading everyone else's post...
By JonnyDough on 8/4/2007 4:39:01 AM , Rating: 2
Just in case anyone posted something similar I have to say that I didn't read everyone's post because it takes awhile (time is of the essence my dear Watson) but I wanted to share some thoughts in case nobody else mentioned them. One, will this increase danger of friendly fire? Two, I think this remote soldier concept is very cool. You could have a guy in a jeep with 20 of these things and he could sit and deploy them secure an area while being the only soldier actually present. Awesome. Someday, soldiers may be completely "off-site" and just drop radio controlled robots into an area via airplane. Never having to set foot in a dangerous area. The only problem with this idea is that just like the nuke, our enemies will soon learn how to build their own robots. That scares me.




By tacorly on 8/4/2007 2:49:38 PM , Rating: 2
so at what point are we fighting robots with robots, and where will this lead us in terms of peacemaking, who will win? the side with the most/any robots left? or does the side that loses all robots freak out and then deploy men to fight the remaining enemy robots, men who have not fought in actual war before because the robots were doing it...


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