Israel unveils armed robot that can patrol combat zones, track down infiltrators, and launch fire

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admin November 8, 2021
Updated 2021/11/08 at 7:22 AM

On Monday, an Israeli military contractor revealed a remote-controlled armed robot that can patrol combat zones, locate infiltrators, and launch fire, according to the company. The unmanned vehicle is the most recent advancement in the realm of drone technology, which is quickly changing the contemporary battlefield.

Proponents argue that semi-autonomous machines enable militaries to better defend their troops, while opponents worry that this is another hazardous step toward robots making life-or-death choices.

The “REX MKII,” a four-wheel-drive robot created by Israel Aerospace Industries, was unveiled on Monday.

According to Rani Avni, deputy director of the company’s autonomous systems section, it is controlled by an electronic tablet and may be outfitted with two machine guns, cameras, and sensors. The robot can collect information for ground forces, transport wounded soldiers and supplies into and out of combat, and attack targets nearby.

It is the most sophisticated of ELTA Systems’ subsidiary Aerospace Industries’ more than half-dozen unmanned vehicles produced over the last 15 years.

The Israeli military is now employing the Jaguar, a smaller but similar vehicle, to patrol the Gaza Strip’s border and assist enforce a blockade imposed by Israel in 2007, when the tiny region was captured by the Islamic militant organisation Hamas.

Gaza is home to 2 million Palestinians who have been effectively trapped by the embargo, which is backed in part by Egypt. Protests are common along the border, as are occasional attempts by Palestinian terrorists or desperate workers to enter Israel.

The semi-autonomous Jaguar is armed with a machine gun and was intended to minimise troops’ exposure to the hazards of patrolling the volatile Gaza-Israel border, according to the Israeli army’s website. It’s just one of several technologies that have given Israel’s military a huge technical advantage against Hamas, including drones equipped with guided missiles.

Other militaries, like those of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia, are progressively using unmanned ground vehicles. Their responsibilities include logistical assistance, mine clearance, and weapon fire.

The tablet may be used to manually operate the car. Many of its operations, such as its mobility and surveillance systems, may, however, operate independently.

“With each mission, the gadget gathers additional data, which it then uses to learn for future missions,” said Yonni Gedj, a robotics division operations specialist.

Critics have expressed worries that robotic weapons might decide to fire targets on their own, perhaps erroneously. According to the business, such capabilities exist but are not available to consumers.

“It is conceivable to make the weapon itself autonomous, but that is now a user decision,” Avni added. “The system’s or the user’s maturity isn’t quite there yet.”

Such weapons are concerning, according to Bonnie Docherty, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch’s armaments section, since they can’t be trusted to differentiate between fighters and civilians or make appropriate decisions about the damage strikes may bring to surrounding people.

Docherty said, “Machines cannot comprehend the worth of human life, which diminishes human dignity and breaches human rights legislation.” Docherty, a Harvard Law School professor, advocated for fully automated weapons to be prohibited under international law in a 2012 study.

The development of autonomous ground vehicles has lagged behind that of autonomous planes and boats, according to Janes, since traveling overland is much more difficult than navigating water or air. Vehicles, unlike ships, must deal with “holes in the road” and know precisely how much power to use to overcome a physical barrier, according to the study.

Concerns have also been expressed about self-driving car technology. Tesla, among other businesses, has been linked to a number of tragic incidents, including one in Arizona in 2018 in which a lady was struck by a vehicle that was on autopilot.

The Israeli drone vehicle will be on display at London’s Defense and Security System International weapons exhibition this week.

 

Source: The New Indian Express

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