I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I’ll forgive myself as I’m sure no one is reading.
This morning I stumbled across a wonderful little article about how robotic land vehicles are being used to patrol the border between Israel and Gaza. These highly sophisticated machines are, of course, being used by the Israeli armed forces and are operated in much the same way as American forces utilize UAVs, or unmanned aerial vehicles. Basically, a pilot controls the machine remotely, in what could be a described as a very real video game. And, speaking of, the Gaurdium looks straight out of Black Ops II.
This photo is from the manufacturers website. The Gaurdium is a mean little thing isn’t it? Is it just my imagination, or does it look slightly animate?
Slightly animate might be a good way to describe the Gaurdium. Not only can it be controlled remotely by a pilot, it is also capable of operating autonomously, as any self-respecting robot should.
The Israeli Defense Force blog says the Gaurdium is an “autonomous observation and target interception system” capable of carrying 300 kg payloads (including lethal and non-lethal weapons). The Gaurdium can “run patrol on predetermined routes without human intervention.” And what’s more, the manufacturer’s website says the Gaurdium is capable of “autonomous mission execution” and “real-time, self-ruling, obstacle’s detection and avoidance.” Whether this thing can shoot without being told to do so by a pilot, I can’t say for sure. But I certainly hope it can’t.
In the past decade, the modern battlefield was reshaped by the introduction of the UAV. As for the coming decade, the Gaurdium may represent the first wave of autonomous/semi-autonomous robots intended for ground warfare. The video below is an example of a DARPA robot being developed with the United States Marine Corps. While there are no guns strapped on it yet, I imagine it’s only a matter of time.
It’s nice to imagine a world where military equipment like the Gaurdium would not be needed. And, while the recent announcement of a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza gives me at least some hope that our planet isn’t about to be spiked into a third world war, the race to develop more sophistacated and destructive weapons will never end. Let’s just hope the powers that be steer clear from designs like this one: