U.S. military robot dog unleashed at AUSA conference

Written by By Jorgie Glinski, CNN A robot dog has been unveiled by American military contractor iRobot at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference. Using artificial intelligence, the Quadzilla Quadrotor can…

U.S. military robot dog unleashed at AUSA conference

Written by By Jorgie Glinski, CNN

A robot dog has been unveiled by American military contractor iRobot at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference.

Using artificial intelligence, the Quadzilla Quadrotor can now follow commands and take aim and fire a rifle. Developed by iRobot’s defense and security business, it’s the final stage of a successful trial program.

Located near Houston, the first US city to see quadrotor drones operated during a disaster response drill in 2016, the robot can climb about five meters (16 feet) on all four legs.

Five options for the quadrotor’s design

The upcoming development of a quadrotor drone helps the army to ensure its aerial presence during times of conflict or disaster. If soldiers need to escape from the battlefield, even for a few minutes, they can now know where a certain landmine is located.

“iRobot believes that the military should maintain a hands-on role in integrating robotic technologies into the force,” said Aaron Kunkel, iRobot’s product marketing manager.

“This new system provides invaluable situational awareness and search and rescue capabilities for troops in remote terrain,” Kunkel added.

The Second Infantry Division of the US Army uses Quadzilla as a means to avoid chemical agents and contamination in a chemical spill.

Once activated, the quadrotor contains an infrared-sensing camera mounted on its turret and powerful vision algorithms. This allows it to coordinate with vehicles and aerial drones in search and rescue operations.

“There is no penalty for opting for this technology — it can be the tactical weapon you need for near-term operations,” Kunkel said.

As part of the “Instant Action Responses to Biological, Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear and Improvised Explosive Devices” project, Quadzilla’s mission includes technical rescue and medical evacuation in urban areas.

Autonomous hunters, shapers, and killbots

The army is not the only group pushing for autonomous “killer robots.”

Paris-based space agency ESA introduced autonomous robots last year, nicknamed Piranha, a two-legged design that can assist rescuers and detected threatening areas by visually scanning them.

The Gibraltar-based Pirate Killer weapon is also a fast-track robot capable of detecting air, sea, and land obstacles and getting to their location without any aid. It is also designed to disable shields that conceal landmines, explosives, or other dangerous objects.

The organization says a futuristic robot known as MechPop, developed by France’s Charles University in Paris, could cut down on military paperwork and focus instead on search-and-rescue operations.

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