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Korea To Build Front-line Combat Robot 293

christchurch wrote to mention the story of a plucky Korean robot that has been built for combat. From the article: "According to design blueprints released during a meeting of science-related ministers, the robot will have six or eight extendable legs with wheels allowing it to move like an insect over uneven terrain. The robot will be armed with various weapons and will operate both by remote control and its own artificial intelligence system"
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Korea To Build Front-line Combat Robot

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  • may i be the first to welcome out 8 leggeded robotic overlords.
  • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @12:29AM (#13642450) Journal
    We're constantly hearing about combat robots, but are any in use? The only ones I know of being in use are reconnaisance robots (of numerous types) and bomb-defusing robots.

    Are there any bots out there that are designed to shoot people? I'm constantly hearing about designs for them, but I've never heard of them being put to use.
    • Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Solr_Flare ( 844465 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @12:37AM (#13642502)
      Yes, the USA, if I recall properly, has variations of their spy drone planes that are equipped with missle launchers. Likewise, there was an article a few months back about the US getting ready to deploy a heavily armed remote control tank-bot for "testing" in Iraq.

      But, to date we have not yet equipped, to public knowledge, a robot with weaponry that is not purely remote controlled. Armed AI robots make people nervous, and for a variety of good reasons given our state of "AI".

      Of course, we aren't talking a Skynet situation here(although some day that will likely be technically possible). Its more like not wanting a blue screen of death to literally kill you.
      • The drones are expensive remote controlled airplanes - they don't really qualify as a robot.
        • Re:Yes (Score:2, Insightful)

          by ergo98 ( 9391 )
          The drones are expensive remote controlled airplanes - they don't really qualify as a robot.

          Why not? While one traditional definition is, err, "human like", another is quite simply a remote controlled or autonomous mechanical device. A remote controlled jet qualifies. Indeed last I heard some of those jets fly autonomous routes, triggering alerts for suspect objects, but it would just be a software change for it to start (Crazily) shooting stuff itself.

          If equipped with an autoloader, I would imagine that e
          • If it's remote controlled, it's not autonomous - and wouldn't really qualify as a robot. Just as a real expensive gunsight.
            • If it's remote controlled, it's not autonomous - and wouldn't really qualify as a robot. Just as a real expensive gunsight.

              Some clarification is clearly needed. first off we need to understand the root of the word.

              Automatons are mechanical devices or robots designed to follow pre-programed instructions.

              Robots are mechanical devices or programs designed to perform a task normally done by a human. There is no implication of autonamy in robotics. Robotic arms have been following simple automaton style press
        • Re:Yes (Score:5, Funny)

          by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:54AM (#13642788) Homepage Journal
          A robot doesn't have to have legs, or lack wings. Saying a robot can't have wings is robot discrimination, and is a violation of the Robot-Human treaty of 2001. Prepare to have your service line discontinued, to be in compliance.
      • Most people call various expensive remote controlled devices "robots". If I make remote controlled spider vehicle is that any more a robot than a remote controlled plane? Does it have to walk on the ground to be a robot?

        Or, is a robot defined by it's AI? If so, how much control does the AI need to have to make it a robot? How sophisticated does it need to be? Depending on how loosely you define AI, you could call some modern cars robots.

        Then, after you define "robot" the next question is does th
    • by slashdotnickname ( 882178 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @12:56AM (#13642595)
      Are there any bots out there that are designed to shoot people?
      Yes, my aimbot is capable of clearing out a room of them.
    • There are many Military Robots [] that have been actively used in the past. Most of them are drones for mapping or reconnaissance. Note that the Ottawa Treaty [] of 1999 forbids the production of armed autonomous robots, but South Korea obviously refused to sign the treaty (as did China, Russia, the US, and about 40 others).

      The US has used the PackBot [] in combat situations, but I believe it has never had munitions mounted on it. It looks like iRobot's vacuum cleaning and navigation technology in the Roomba [] c

      • but South Korea obviously refused to sign the treaty (as did China, Russia, the US, and about 40 others)

        So just about everyone capable of making them refused, except Japan.

        Doesn't [] that [] just [] suck? []
      • Note that the Ottawa Treaty of 1999 forbids the production of armed autonomous robots

        um no it doesn't []

        Mines are defined as 'concealed' devices All you need to do it paint the robots a nice bright neon color and you can programe it to kill exclusively humans without violating the ottowa treaty.

        Further more Mixed Devices are perfectly legal, All you do is Arm the Robot with an RPG and program it to blow up tanks and humvees. then it can also be programmed to slaughter milions of
    • by globalar ( 669767 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:08AM (#13642640) Homepage
      Well, we can certainly mount guns on things and shoot remotely. The current, long-developing trend in military warfare is towards smaller, versatile units that are hard to pin down but are extremely coordinated. Hive-like would be a wet-dream, but I'm sure beaurocrat is having such a dream as we speak. Bottom line, robots don't yet play into this dream. They are really only good as disposable long-range swiss-army knives. This will improve over time, of course. And as you read, the border patrol part is a focus as well.

      This particular focus from SK seems to be a politically-pushed idea. Perhaps similar to the U.S. Star Wars idea in the 1980's (i.e. makes people happy, makes some contractors rich). North Korea weighs heavily on SK citizen's minds, partly because they hear so much crazy, horrible stuff about what happens in the country. Remember there is a huge infrantry deployment (for U.S. particularly) along the North Korean border, so any press about being able to one day replace these forces with robots is good press (who will hopefully just be sentrys really, because no one south of the meridian wants war).

      Also, the South Koreans are fairly keen on technology in general, similar to the Japanese. Like all of us, they love to find excuses to play with robots and grant government contracts. The SK government has invested heavily in certain industries in the past and now the market seems to be sensing the technological shift. Yesterday (way back) the hot things were conventional transport like shipbuilding. Today its robots. So the story goes, if you can get a copy of the student roster at MIT, you can find out just what the South Koreans want to become leaders in. Though, I would add a few Japanese and Chinese schools to the list now as well.

      • "Hive-like would be a wet-dream"

        Depending on your definition of robot, we may already have a "hive mind" controlled robot in operational use. The AEGIS Combat System [] is a combat control system that integrates a wide variety of sensors and weapon platforms into a single, computer controlled system. The central control computer receives data from linked sources such as radar arrays, satellites and aircraft located anywhere in the battle space. Using various algorithms, the system can track over 100 separat
    • Are there any bots out there that are designed to shoot people? I'm constantly hearing about designs for them, but I've never heard of them being put to use.

      Well, there was Boilerplate []

    • The U.S. already uses several robots in battle with them, mostly drones for mapping things. Some drones have missiles. There is also a smaller land robot that infantry can carry with them to inspect suspicious areas. There are easily about 500 other forms of robots on the drawing boards among various defense contractors. The idea is that robots can be made in any number and are dispensable, so eventually a soldier should be replaced by a robot. The robots we know exist are most likley nothing compared to wh
    • It is morally repugnant to an honorable person (a 'warrior') to have machines fighting wars for you.

      There is something to be said for efficient tools to reduce the causalties within your military forces (tanks, air support, artillery, small arms, body armor, etc.), but it comes down to this crucial point: if you remove all disinsentive for engaging in conflict with an enemy, a people will have little protest against wanton wars.

      That said, there's no substitute for troops on the ground. You can hide your peo
      • It is morally repugnant to an honorable person (a 'warrior') to have machines fighting wars for you.

        There is very little honorable about fighting wars in general. And there is very little more honorable than saving a life - or preventing the loss of one.

        As for your other comments, economics is the answer. If nations are willing to fight a war for economic incentives, nations should be just as willing to view the loss of million-dollar-robots as a disincentive.

      • Wars haven't been honourable since 1485. Look it up.
    • by TitanBL ( 637189 ) <(moc.tenretni-natit) (ta) (nodnarb)> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:35AM (#13642923)
      There are a few in use currently in Iraq. There is the Talon [] which can fire many different weapons (M249, .50 cal, M4A1, M24, etc). They are very accurate, more accurate than any soldier. Every EOD team seems to have one of these [] which they use to detonate IEDs.

      UAVs are everywhere and are common place in almost all operations. There is the Predator [], which when armed with the hellfire missile system [] can be very leathal [] and the little Raven [] which can be utilized at the squad level. The new Viper Strike [] bombs, which are starting to be depoyed on UAVs, are very usefull in urban situations where you need to take out the enemy without harming innocents in say, the next room. This is a big development because the "insurgents" like to take shelter in mosques, schools, and hospitals, etc. The new Hardstop bombs [] help in this situation as well (but I do not think they are carried by UAVs). Anyways, here is an exellent video/story [] which mixes captured enemy video with the video from the UAV which nails them. I love UAVs.
    • Are there any bots out there that are designed to shoot people?


      I'm constantly hearing about designs for them, but I've never heard of them being put to use.

      Then just look. []

      Long story short. The feds sent a robot with a telephone on it, there was also a 12 guage shotgun aimed at the phone. Pick up the phone and lose your arm.

    • We're constantly hearing about combat robots, but are any in use?

      The RQ-1 Predator [] is being actively used in a combat role [].

      While at the moment they are used via remote control for combat (perhaps for political reasons) a single pilot/operator can use several at the same time because they have an autonomous flight capability []. How long do you think it would be in a war of survival before pilots controlled many multiples of drones. And how little time before those drones took on more and more automation ?
  • by AdityaG ( 842691 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @12:29AM (#13642454) Homepage
    Now we just wait for the naked guys to drop outta the sky...
  • Minor clarification (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Sunday September 25, 2005 @12:32AM (#13642473) Journal
    South Korea To Build Front-line Combat Robot.

    Some people think "North" when they hear about Korean military stuff.
  • Unfortunately, Korea will also give them the ability to replicate [].
  • at my computer, waiting for that inevitable day when, some time in the near or distant future, this things' great-great-great-great grandson will come into my office and shoot me, on its war for earth. Until then, I'll just sit here with my fantasies about a world without such robots...
  • South Korea (Score:2, Informative)

    by ZeroPost ( 792045 )
    I think that the article summary should mention that this is being developed by _South_ Korea. The article just mentioned 'Korea', but since there are two Koreas, I wasn't sure which one they were talking about.
  • by Capt'n Hector ( 650760 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @12:35AM (#13642492)
    haha those "blueprints" are from lightwave, aren't they? In that case, I have blueprints for several deep-space capital ships, a few space fighters, and a couple of plasma guns.
  • Fragging nerds (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @12:37AM (#13642505) Journal
    You put a gun in an overweight nerds hand and shove him onto the battlefield and he's going to get killed very quickly. You put him behind the remote controls for one of these babies, and you'll have a lean-mean killing machine. Will nerds be the nest people to be drafted by the government? After all, all of those years training in Quake and Doom should make them experts wielding these babies.

    I can see it now, Korea is at war with someone else using these on the battlefield. Kim and his friends want a LAN party, so they PAY the military to for an hours worth of time renting out 5 of these. They get behind their computers, and are suddenly transported to a battlefield and they go for it. Just make sure it's programmed so that the thing can't shoot allies (perhaps the allies emit a beacon) and the kids can go for their life, trying to frag as many people as they can. It'll be all the rage!
    • Actually, the scary thing is that this scenario is likely to become a reality. At least "nerds" being the future generation of soldiers. Maybe not for another generation or two of course. But, the whole idea in warfare is to limit the human casualties on your side. This makes remote controlled weaponry ideal. And, given the skills and coordination developed from years of gaming, video gamers would make the ideal drone controllers.

      The real long term concern is that if warfare ends up becoming a battl
    • My God man! Think about what you're saying! We're talking about Korean nerds here! It'll be a black day for humanity when one of those things goes "Kekeke Zergrush ^_^".
    • Welcome to KillBot v1.2324b

      Intialising.... System ready. Readings normal.

      Please enter your command:

      > IDDQD


      > IDKFA


      > GOD


      > IMPULSE 9


  • Is it just me, or is the world forgetting Isaac Asimov's laws of robotics?:

    Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics" asimov

    1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

    2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

    It seems to me that this is a casebook examp

    • Forget Asimov, how about Jesus? (Or is that automatically flaimbait?)
    • by ingo23 ( 848315 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:10AM (#13642654)
      It's all much simpler.

      1. A robot must bring profit.

    • Asimov was a pacifistic dreamer. There's nothing wrong with that, mind you, but this is reality. Not everyone is pacifistic, and there are most certainly segments of people in our world who would not hesitate to kill if it meant an increase in social status for themselves.
    • by Manchot ( 847225 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:27AM (#13642892)
      Three things: First of all, Asimov lived half a century ago, not half a decade ago. Secondly, he can hardly be called "the father of robotics." He neither conceived the idea of a robot nor built any. Since none of the technology came about as a direct result of him, saying that he is the father of the field does a disservice to those who actually pioneered it. Finally, the three rules of robotics were never meant to be guidelines for people to follow. They are essentially MacGuffins, used only to advance the plot of the stories.
      • He neither conceived the idea of a robot nor built any.

        False. From UTexas RRR [] (and many of the "forward" parts of his books):

        The word 'robotics' was first used in Runaround, a short story published in 1942, by Isaac Asimov (born Jan. 2, 1920, died Apr. 6, 1992). I, Robot, a collection of several of these stories, was published in 1950.


        In 1942, John P. Eckert, John W. Mauchly (left), and their associates at the Moore school of Electrical Engineering of University of Pennsylvania decided to bui
  • ... when I can get a spider-tank a la Ghost in the Shell.
  • Will these things be able to climb stairs?

    HA! And you thought I was going to ask if it ran on Linux.
  • Hardly the word I would use to describe a killing machine which is incapable of emotion or courage.

    How about lethal, deadly, death-bringing, slaughterous, death-dealing, cruel, ...

    (Thanks to Mr Roget)

  • I read that this robot will be plucky and I can't believe my eyes. I check it again a couple times to make sure there's no way I could have read that wrong.

    Then I see a couple lines down that "science-related ministers" were involved. WTF? Is this some plucky, morale boosting robot expected to save the day and make soldier feel good?

    I'm at this point imagining something like the Terminator, except on Prozac and "fired up about the Holy Spirit!"
    • So if I said, "Canada's Prime Minister signed a trade agreement today," you'd think I was talking about the head of the official Canadian church?
  • ... in the Age of Empires II (Age of Kings) expansion pack (The Conquerors), I seem to recall there being a Korean civilization. Their primary 'unique unit' of interest was this War Wagon, a siege weapon of some potency. I suppose this is just a beefed-up version. :)

    Now, how about those turtle boats?

  • We could send it to mars, and instead of just taking pictures, it could blow things up. You know, in case they do actually discover life and it turns out to be hostile...

    Besides, who needs a rock abrasion tool (RAT) when you have a 120mm cannon to crack open any interesting formations!
  • by hobotron ( 891379 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @01:31AM (#13642721)

    Korean Old Glory Insurance premiums have just soared overnight
  • Anime (Score:2, Funny)

    by Mancat ( 831487 )
    The robot will also only be pilotable by spiky-haired prepubescent boys.
  • Why is it a "plucky" robot? I think a better adjective might be "disturbing" or perhaps "horrifying."

    New ways to kill large quantities of human beings, horray!
  • This is actually the future of combat. Not this particular robot of course, but over time I think these things have great battlefield potential. They just need to become completely autonomous and vastly exceed mobility capabilities of a trained human. Move three times faster, aim better, carry heavier ammunition, see better in the dark or through fog/smoke, use multi-spectral imaging to see humans in IR, or if they can't be seen in IR, see them despite their camouflage in UV spectrum. They could also stay c
  • by 20th Century Boy ( 903797 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:40AM (#13642932)
    As North Korea already has their own robotic countermeasures. []
  • One step closer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MacFury ( 659201 ) <me AT johnkramlich DOT com> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @03:32AM (#13643073) Homepage
    Commander: Solider! Kill that mother and small child!
    Solider: No sir! I will not kill an innocent civilian
    Commander: KillBot5000! Kill that mother and small child!
    KillBot5000 Would you like me to toture them first?

    I certainly can't wait!

  • ...until the last words: "its own artificial intelligence system".

    Why do images of such renowned movies and series such as Colossus, Westworld, Terminator and Dr.Who pop up in my head suddenly ?
  • by Godwin O'Hitler ( 205945 ) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @04:38AM (#13643194) Journal
    Why would they build a battle robot with a head? To make it look more intimidating?

    Why not fit a tail too. Is there any reason a robot should be directional at all?

    The idea of armies of battle robots fighting each other all seems a bit burlesque to me. Can you imagine Robots vs Robots in a "take that hill" scenario. Who's going to surrender if there are only robots out there - and surrender what? Their sensors?
  • Building weapons like this is a bad idea. How can they ensure that the enemy, who ever they are, does not get access to the robots control system and thus turn them? By software, I assume. Software can have bugs. Bugs, on any kind of armed robot, can have disastrous effects. What if an enemy attempt at taking over the robots makes it lock it's control system from external access so even their owners can't control it anymore? What if the attack software bugs and starts viewing any biological life-form as hos
  • What could possibly go wrong?
  • This reminds me of something I read a long time ago about an experiment by the American army in World War II (can't for the life of me track it down now, though). At one point, the Americans tried to save lives by making these little tanks, about half a foot tall or so. The idea was that the tanks would have a small, gas powered engine, would drive up to the Germans, and either explode or shoot at them with this little gun.

    It didn't actually work, but I do remember vividly pictures of some very amused G

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"