[quote]The gun pod, which is attached to the robot’s torso from the center, transformed it from a biomechanical oddity into a fearsome chimera, a weapon more familiar to the world of video games than a real one on a battlefield.
[quote]“Robots That Feel the World™” reads the brief display for Ghost Robotics at AUSA. The copy continues, referring to the robots as “Agile & unstoppable ruggedized ground drones with legs (Q-UGV™)” that can be used “for a broad range of military and homeland security applications.” (Q-UGV stands for quadrupedal uncrewed ground vehicle.)
[quote]The Q-UGV is also pitched as useful for “Perimeter Security,” or patrolling a base, “EOD,” or “explosive ordnance disposal,” and “CBRN,” or “Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence.” While EOD deals with small explosions and CBRN potentially deals with very large ones (or other hazards, such as chemical weapons), both are circumstances where having a robot deal with something deadly to humans can be lifesaving. Even if it’s just taking a first look at a roadside bomb, or using chemical sniffers to determine if a hazardous chemical is present in the air, it’s much better to have a robot take on the immediate risk.
[quote]But while some tasks seem like a good fit for a robot to reduce risk to humans, the signature innovation on display at the AUSA floor turned the robot into a threat. The Q-UGV is also listed as offering one other essential military function: “lethality.”
[quote]Starting in 2017, under Secretary of Defense James Mattis, “Lethality” became a focal point of military product marketing. Whereas in the past, military contractors would talk about how a weapon allows soldiers to meet mission objectives or protects the warfighter, “lethality” as a new buzzword meant everything had to be explained in terms of that ultimate military objective: killing people, in accordance with the laws of war and the task assigned.
[quote]In the case of the Q-UGV, lethality is straightforward. It means putting a gun on a robot dog.