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US Marine Corps has robot dog equipped with firepower

The U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is currently evaluating a robot dog equipped with an artificial intelligence aiming gun.

Developed by Ghost Robotics and likely to be deployed on the battlefield in the future, these “robot dogs” are equipped with advanced gun systems from defense technology specialist Onyx Industries. It has partnered with AimLock to focus on incorporating long-range lethal tools into autonomous systems in the air, on the ground and at sea.

MARSOC is using Ghost Robotics machines, known as Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicles, or Q-UGVs, for different purposes, including espionage and surveillance, but it raises more concerns when it comes to direct combat.

On the Q-UGV, imaging systems can notify human operators of any potential threats, as AI-driven defense systems can detect and monitor humans as well as vehicles or drones. The robot has built-in protection, and while it can detect and track, it cannot fire. Authorizing and implementing fires through a human-to-machine (HITL) process requires human supervision.

Onix Industries shared a video A similar system is operating on LinkedIn.

How will robot dogs impact the future of warfare?

We already know that artificial intelligence is being used in modern conflicts, from Israel’s situation with Hamas to the war between Russia and Ukraine. Last month, the U.S. Air Force also announced a major breakthrough in achieving the first artificial intelligence air combat.

Over time, there will be greater involvement of robots, which may include the deployment of “robot dogs” due to their advanced technology. The Q-UGV can also perform tasks deemed too hazardous for human exposure, particularly where risk needs to be minimized.

Despite its sophisticated capabilities, the technology is still in its early stages. Subsequent versions of the Q-UGV will be better equipped and trained for specific purposes. Ongoing ethical and safety concerns will also be mitigated, such as liability for serious incidents and the degree of autonomy of AI.

Another existing robot dog is a flamethrowing version that can be owned for as little as $10,000.

The Thermonator, as it’s called, is available now for $9,420 and looks like it could belong in a RoboCop movie. Not surprisingly, the device comes with a few caveats.

Image source: Ideographies

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