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WTF?! We’ve seen the worrying progress of robots from comical pieces of human-shaped metal staggering around like a drunk to Terminator-esque machines doing parkour. But at least nobody has been stupid enough to arm one with a rifle—until now.
The James Bond villain-sounding SWORD International, which makes semi-automatic rifles, and Ghost Robotics have partnered on the killbot. The former added a Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle, or SPUR, to the latter’s Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicle, or Q-UGV. It bears a terrifying resemblance to the metal creatures seen in the War of the Worlds TV show and the murderous dog robots from Black Mirror episode Metalhead. And the one from Battlefield 2042, of course.
The Drive writes that the robot was debuted at the Association of the U.S. Army’s main annual convention in Washington, D.C., this week. The companies never revealed detailed specs, though we do know that the semi-autonomous robot packs a 6.5mm semi-automatic rifle capable of precision fire from about 4,000 feet. Ghost Robotics said it can remotely chamber the first round from an unloaded state and comes with safe, fire, and clear capabilities.
Latest lethality 6.5 #creedmoor sniper payload from @SWORDINT. Check out the latest partner payloads @AUSAorg Wash DC. Keeping US and allied #sof #warfighter equipped with the latest innovations. @USSOCOM #defense #defence #NationalSecurity #drone #robotics pic.twitter.com/Dvk6OvL3Bu— Ghost Robotics (@Ghost_Robotics) October 11, 2021
“The SWORD Defense Systems SPUR is the future of unmanned weapon systems, and that future is now,” reads the frankly terrifying details.
The Drive notes that the SWORD offers derivatives of the 5.56x45mm AR-15/M16 family, as well as similar but larger caliber guns. It also appears to use a suppressor in this case.
Ghost Robotics’ website describes its Q-UGV as “unstoppable, with the ability to get right back up from any slip, fall, or failure and keep moving using our proprietary blind-mode operation,” which sounds like the ideal thing to carry a rifle.
Given that semi-autonomous weaponized machines such as military drones have been around for years, a gun-toting robot dog was probably inevitable. Earlier this year, someone attached a paintball gun to Boston Dynamics’ spot, and we’ve seen people strap flamethrowers and pistols to their consumer drones.
Image credit: Felix Woessner