UGV technology continues to improve. The new armed SWORDS robots are being deployed to Iraq.
A UGV is an excellent recon and weapons platform. It is a stable platform, allowing greater weapons accuracy. The multiple cameras give it far greater vision than the human eye. UGVs will effectively replace snipers and scouts.
They can counter enemy snipers, search for IEDs, and potentially raid buildings without exposing US troops to danger.
This? This is the new weapon of Urban Warfare.
After years of development, three “special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system” (SWORDS) robots have deployed to Iraq, armed with M249 machine guns. The ‘bots “haven’t fired their weapons yet,” Michael Zecca, the SWORDS program manager, tells DANGER ROOM. “But that’ll be happening soon.”
The SWORDS — modified versions of bomb-disposal robots used throughout Iraq — were first declared ready for duty back in 2004. But concerns about safety kept the robots from being sent over the the battlefield. The machines had a tendency to spin out of control from time to time. That was an annoyance during ordnance-handling missions; no one wanted to contemplate the consequences during a firefight.
DARPA is also exploring Swarm Theory to allow multiple robots to share data and coordinate much like ant colonies. This is a great way to work around their limited intelligence to create complex behavior
I cannot wait until UGVs are repurposed for civilian markets. They can do so much more than that stupid-ass vacuum.
As for war robots: AQ can take their 7th century religious fundamentalism and shove it up their asses. We got Cylons.