As robotic technology screams ahead, the U.S. Army has shown off the latest in their arsenal, a sniper rifle-equipped robo-dog that can engage targets from 1200m away.
The robodog is remotely operated and only engages targets with human permission. The robot dogs can patrol dangerous and difficult areas that often require human presence.
Popular Mechinics reported this new, armed version of the Vision 60 is equipped with the Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle (SPUR). It’s a ten-shot rifle chambered in a 6.5-millimeter Creedmoor—a new, medium-caliber, high-velocity, long-range precision round.
“The Creedmoor is known in shooting circles for having a relatively flat ballistic trajectory, making it more of a “hit-what-you-see” round at longer ranges than older cartridges like the .308 Winchester. The robot’s human controller is in charge of SPUR; a 30X electro-optical thermal scope assists in the weapon’s target acquisition and aiming”.
Vision 60 is capable of remote-controlled or autonomous operation. In remote-controlled mode, a human operator would select a target and then open fire. However, current U.S. military policy on autonomous systems prohibits automatic target engagement.
So, an autonomous weapon system like Vision 60 could line up its sniper rifle against a target (and compute a firing solution), but it cannot open fire. Only a human can do that.