South Korea has strengthened its military with a team of robots, who will work side-by-side with soldiers in the Demilitarised Zone (referred to as the "DMZ"), the 160 mile long, 2.5-mile wide strip of land separating South Korea from North Korea.
The country's new defensive robot is called the SGR-1, and was created by Samsung for an estimated price tag of US$200,000 a piece. The bot is equipped with heat and motion detectors to identify and shoot a potential target more than 2 miles away. In addition, the SGR-1 wields a 5.5mm machine gun. No, really.
SGR-1 is not going to run headlong into battle; it is a stationary robot meant to operate like a watchman. When it detects a potential threat, it notifies the command centre. The operator can then use the robot's video and audio devices to communicate remotely before deciding to open fire. If it all works according to plan, the SGR-1 is not going to start shooting people on its own.
The project is highly classified, but it's been reported that the SGR-1s were deployed about a month ago and will continue to monitor the DMZ through to the end of the year. Huh Kwang-hak, a spokesman for Samsung Techwin says: “The SGR-1 is essentially a protection technology which will serve and protect our human soldiers against enemy attackers in their dispatched danger zones".
“The SGR-1 can and will prevent wars”.
Peace seeking, defensive robots sound great to us but we still can't shake images of ED-209's [above] brutal attack on the OCP board in Director Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop.
Fingers crossed that SGR-1 passes its performance tests.