October 21, 2013 - Robots armed
with automatic weapons, anti-tank missiles and even grenade launchers are marching, er, rolling ever closer to the battlefield now that they‚Äôve shown they can actually hit what they‚Äôre supposed to.
Four robotics companies ‚ÄĒ HDT Robotics, iRobot, Northrop Grumman
and QinetiQ ‚ÄĒ recently ran their M240 machine gun-armed robots through a live-fire demo at Fort Benning
in what has been dubbed the ‚ÄúRobotic Rodeo.‚ÄĚ The point was to give the brass a chance to see just how viable such systems are.
The Army, which issued a favorable assessment of the technology last week, doesn‚Äôt see our armed robotic overlords as weapons taking the place of boots on the ground, but rather as combatants working alongside troops in the field.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre not just tools, but members of the squad. That‚Äôs the goal,‚ÄĚ Lt. Col. Willie Smith, chief of Unmanned Ground Vehicles at Fort Benning
told Computerworld. ‚ÄúA robot becoming a member of the squad, we see that as a matter of training.‚ÄĚ
Senior Army officers attending the rodeo appeared satisfied with the robots after seeing them accurately hit targets 500 feet away, and they hope to see battle ‚Äėbots in action within five years.