South Korea Border Robots Ready to Kill

With shrinking population, S. Korea manufactures soldiers
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2010 5:36 AM CDT
South Korean soldiers patrol near the border village of Panmunjom that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, June 7, 2009.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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(Newser) – Two killer robots are patrolling the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea—and they belong to the South. The robots, produced at a cost of $330,000, are equipped with surveillance, tracking, firing, and voice recognition capabilities. South Korea is using them as a test run for a larger-scale combat robot program it is currently developing to complement human soldiers in battle, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The border patrol robots use heat and motion detectors to identify possible threats, then send a message to a command center. If the command center can't identify the intruder, the robot can be ordered to fire a gun or an automatic grenade launcher. South Korea's interest in robots has demographic roots: With 665,000 troops, it faces a 1.2 million-strong North Korean force, and declining birth rates in the South mean its supply of human soldiers will likely shrink in the future.
(Read more South Korea stories.)

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