Gun-Toting Robots Patrol Iraq

By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2007 4:43 PM CDT
The armed robots are based on bomb-detonating models such as this one.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Heavily armed, remote-controlled robots are on the ground in Iraq—a first in military history. Only three of these robo-soldiers, armed with M249 machine guns, are currently deployed, but the Army has requested 80 more. Their location is classified, but officials report they're involved in reconnaissance and street patrol missions. The 'bots  "haven't fired their weapons yet," the program manager tells Wired. "But that'll be happening soon."

The 'bots, which are modified versions of existing bomb-disposal units, have been inside Iraq for months but were not deployed until recently  due to safety concerns. They've been retooled to eliminate technical hitches. And they now come with kill switches. "So now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy," the manager says.  Budget constraints have stymied efforts to send in additional 'bots.