Robot Dog Gets Outfitted With Sniper Rifle

It was bound to happen: Two US defense companies have decided to strap a sniper rifle on to a robot dog, marketing it as the future of warfare. 

S.W.O.R.D. International and Ghost Robotics posted photos of the lethal combination to social media after it was shown during a US military-related event in Washington, D.C. 

Ghost Robotics provided the bot, dubbed the Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicles or Q-UGV. The four-legged machine is designed to be “unstoppable,” according to the company’s website, which notes the Q-UGV can get right back up after slipping or falling to the ground.  

S.W.O.R.D. International then outfitted the bot with a specialized sniper rifle, called SPUR, that’s been specifically designed for “unmanned platforms.” The rifle itself can fire out to 1,200 meters (0.74 miles) and is equipped with sensors for both day and night conditions. 

“Keeping our #SOF (Special Operation Forces) teams armed with the latest lethality innovation,” S.W.O.R.D. International wrote in an Instagram post.

Still, the image has sparked concerns the companies are paving the way for a dystopian robot nightmare. “You want Skynet? Because this is how you get Skynet,” replied one internet user, referring to the AI overlord in the Terminator films that starts off as a military defense system only to turn on its creators. 

Others fear corporations and governments will be able to use the weaponized bots as enforcers. “We created a soulless piece of hardware for brutal population suppression when the billionaires finally fear for their ill-gotten gains,” one internet user on Twitter wrote.

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But it seems for now the robot has to function with the help of a human operator. According to S.W.O.R.D., the robot’s main advantage is how a human soldier can remotely control and fire the sniper rifle from a distance, keeping the soldier out of harm’s way. 

It’s unclear if or when the sniper rifle-carrying robot dog will ever take the field. The two companies didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But Ghost Robotics’s website says it’s been partnering with companies across the US defense industry. So it may only be a matter of time before the weaponized robot dog enters service.

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