The Russian military’s research division is working to develop ground-based, combat-ready robots to assist its infantry.
The heavily-armed robots, first displayed in a state-produced video last month, resemble miniature tanks that can be deployed alongside infantry or swarms of quadrotor drones — either of which, according to C4ISRNET, can send targeting information back to the killer robot.
For now, the robots will still require significant human intervention, with a soldier selecting targets for the tank or remotely controlling it from afar. But Russia’s Advanced Research Foundation, the military research division behind this new technology, told C4ISRNET that the ultimate goal is to hand off those responsibilities to artificial intelligence algorithms as soon as possible.
“The evolution of combat robots is on the path of increasing the ability to perform tasks in autonomous mode with a gradual reduction in the role of the operator,” a spokesperson told C4ISRNET.
Russia isn’t the only country building semi-autonomous weapons — The U.S. is developing weaponized autonomous boats and the U.K. has a program in place to build autonomous killer drones.
Meanwhile, many other nations have called for a ban on autonomous weapons, insisting that a human must always be the one to pull the trigger. Judging by Russia’s new video, in which a semi-autonomous robot tank literally does donuts in the snow, that international ban may not mean all that much.