Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, August 03, 2007

First Ever Armed Robots Deployed in Iraq: SWORDS

SWORDS Armed Robotic System

For the first time in the history of warfare, armed robots have been deployed in a battle zone. The robots are called SWORDS, short for "special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system."

The robots are not autonomous, yet. They are controlled remotely, with layers of safety and kill switches in case one of them decides to go off reservation like number 5 in the movie Short Circuit. Only three of these devices have been placed into service, and none has yet had occasion to fire its weapon. But that is expected to change soon.

I keep telling you people. The pace is picking up. Stay tuned or get left behind.

Source: DangerRoom

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Anonymous said...

As I recall, South Korea is testing autonomous armed robots as well, with voice recognition systems and other goodies. Video of them in action over here.

Bob Mottram said...

It's only a matter of time before direct manual control is replaced by supervisory control allowing one soldier to guide multiple robots - increasing his productivity and decreasing military costs. Once the problem gets to a supervisory level it then becomes much more amenable to automation. Data mining systems can extract typical patterns of sensing and control and create automated macros from these.

After a few more decades of development in this direction fully automated systems can "take control" of any piece of land after having been given the command to do so.

I also think it's likely that terrorist groups will actively seek to acquire/capture this technology, or build their own from scratch. Building a radio control vehicle and strapping a gun onto it, then driving it through a city, is not that remote a prospect.