It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…a robodog with a gun?
The brain geniuses at the Pentagon have decided that a good use of the taxpayer dollar is to attach rifles onto robot dogs, because why the hell not, right?
As Military.com reports, a spokesperson for the US Army said that the branch is considering arming remote-controlled robot dogs with state-of-the-art rifles as part of its plan to “explore the realm of the possible” in the future of combat.
The vision, as you’ve probably gathered, is pretty simple: to mount a rifle onto a robotic dog for domestic tasks across the military — and send it out into an unspecified battlefield.
First reported earlier this month by the intelligence service Janes, the Army’s desire to slap a weapon on one of Ghost Robotics’ Vision 60 Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicle (Q-UGV) — which is robotics manufacturing-speak for a competitor to Boston Dynamics’ infamous robodog used by the likes of the New York Police Department — seemed to be softly confirmed by a spokesperson Military.com talked to.
In that previous reporting, scientific researcher Bhavanjot Singh of the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) said that the branch had already begun experimenting with mounting other kinds of weaponry onto Q-UGVs — but further experiments, he said, would test out some of the ‘bots more canine-specific qualities.
“The unique capability of the dog is the ability to traverse different types of terrain that wheeled vehicles may not be able to go,” Singh reportedly said at a gathering of lawmakers in late July where one of the armed robodog units was on display.
That said, exploration and interest do not necessarily mean that these robotic gun-toting pooches will be coming to a battlefield anytime soon, DEVCOM spokesperson Tim Ryder told the website.
“While advanced technology demonstrations… allow us to explore the realm of the possible when it comes to transformative capabilities for future combat formations,” Ryder said, “they don’t necessarily represent or result in formal service-wide research programs or investments.”
All the same, these purported experiments alone represent step further into weird ethical territory — and it makes it seem like the military may be going to the dogs.
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