Sep 1, 2014

Terminator Robots Headed For The Battlefield

Dan Thomas

Robots on the battlefield can be lethal and even repairable.  Their use is being debated at the UN, particularly since some will soon be given decision making capabilities. Currently deploying a robot in the field still relies on a soldier using remote control, and then only to a distance of about 800m (2,600ft).
But what happens when we eventually take humans out of the loop? Many critics worry that marrying advances in robotics, advanced weapons, microelectronics miniaturisation, with developments in neural network-based artificial intelligence (AI) could lead to a potential Terminator scenario.

Robot drones like the MAAR-system will be increasingly common on future battlefields. This is one example of how sci-fi movies like the Terminator predicted the future

 The Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System (MAARS®) from QinetiQ North America is one such robot, an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that is powerful, modular and combat-ready.  The MAARS is designed expressly for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) missions to increase the security of personnel manning forward locations. MAARS can be positioned in remote areas where personnel are currently unable to monitor their security, and can also carry either a direct or indirect fire weapon system.

This miniature tank is only one metre long.  It is one of a host of unmanned air, sea and land vehicles that are being used by militaries to aid soldiers in reconnaissance or to go into heavily booby-trapped areas where it might be too risky to send in troops.

Agile and combat-ready, MAARS is a technological breakthrough. MAARS enables the remote emplacement of RSTA sensors into critical locations to provide early warning while enabling immediate response if required.

Remotely controlled by an operator equipped with a lightweight, wearable control unit, MAARS features multiple onboard day and night cameras, motion detectors, an acoustic microphone, a hostile fire detection system, and a speaker system with a siren to provide optimum situational awareness and alarm.

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