back to article Qinetiq ships first 'Transformer' war-droid

The US war robot manufacturing arm of controversial Brit gov spinoff bonanza company Qinetiq has announced the first shipment of its so-called "Transformer" battle droid. Qinetiq informs the world today that the MAARS - Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System - has now been placed in the hands of the US military's Combating …


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  1. Paul Hampson

    Just remember...

    ... not to have a photo of this on your t-shirt

  2. Fab De Marco
    Black Helicopters

    Ahhh Finally an answer

    The designers/manufacturers of this are getting plenty of money to build this, but when a soldier opens up the body armour cupboard he finds a potato sack with three holes in it... oh well worked for Rambo

  3. The elephant in the room
    Paris Hilton

    I'd like to see one of those bad boys on Robot Wars!

    Points will be awarded for damage, control and aggression...

    Paris, because I dont have a girlfriend!

  4. Andy Senyszyn

    Ah but will they...

    ...let it through Terminal 5?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Available on Firebox?

    I'd like to order one for fathers day please.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    "green, eye-safe laser to dazzle people"?

    So it can bring airplanes crashing down at a great rate of knots, it can blast people into iddy biddy bits with grenades or fill 'em full of lead with machine guns, but it can't blind them?

    Mine's the eye protection with the built-in armor-plated bodysuit.

  7. Richard Stokoe

    Anybody remember Toys?

    Now the Americans don't have to go to the countries that they are 'liberating'. American casualties will plumet because they're all at home with remote controls and Tivo while Qinetiq Transformer's are [not] finding WMDs/killing civilians.

    I wonder if they will remove the gun and release it as a Qinetiq Presentationbot, complete with it's own green, eye-safe laser pointer for directing your attention to a particularly interesting part of a Powerpoint slide... and, for you two talking in the back, A LOUDSPEAKER!

    Horses for courses.

  8. Chris Priest
    Thumb Down

    And easily disabled by...

    Shooting out the lens of the camera... :)

  9. graeme leggett Silver badge

    @ Chris

    Shooting out the lens of the camera.....

    does it then sqawk "My vision is impaired" repeatedly so its creator (!) err... operator knows to go to its help.

  10. Nick Palmer
    Thumb Up

    @Chris Priest

    Presumably you're going to be doing this while under a withering hail of fire from the machine gun/grenade launcher/rocket launcher which'll be providing a staccato accompaniment to your laudable attempts at Dead-Eye-Dick-manship? :D

    Seriously though, it looks as though it's getting to be potentially a very useful system.

  11. paul

    Windows for warships / Microsoft for machines.

    If so , the bad guys are in for a bit of luck. It will crash in the first few mins of a battle encounter.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sod Iraq

    It'd be more useful in Afghanistan, where there's no man power to hold a compound after it's been taken, and so the tele-ban pop back in after everyone's left to make sure there are no TV's left behind.

    Just leave a few of these puppies behind and pop a cap in their bearded asses from a safe distance.

    BTW Wouldn't it be more useful without the tracks? Just stick it on the roof of your mud hut and plug away at the bad guys in safety and comfort...

  13. Anthony

    Also easily disabled by

    The use of stilts.

    Digging holes around your base camp. Deploying large magnets around your base camp.

    Watching its trajectory and then sneaking past it and killing the operator.

    Standing on it, driving over it, picking it up (don't point it at yourself), flicking it over.

  14. Ru

    Re: easily disabled

    Uh, in much the same way that a human soldier is easily disabled by shooting out his brains.

    Only it doesn't involve an actual person dying. Plus, I'd be mildly concerned about clever sniper-hunting technology attached to a different bot with a high power rifle that will shoot you out of your little hideyhole.

    It is more easily disabled by creative use of barricades which would require genuine people to come remove them, whom you can then use the aforementioned human disabling process upon to ensure that the current ruling party back in the US starts losing votes.

  15. Simon Neill

    Can I....

    Build one with my RepRap? Are the plans out yet?

  16. Sam Wallace
    Black Helicopters

    Look Familiar?

    Is it me or has anyone else spotted the alarming similarity...?

    Mine's the one with the steel-walled bunker :-)

  17. The Power Of Greyskull

    Look behind you...

    How? A rear camera might have been useful.

    You just know your going to get those pesky terrorists sneaking up behind it and sticking chewing gum over the lens....

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ I'd like to see one of those bad boys on Robot Wars!

    Hypno-disc would make quick work of that thing.

    exposed treads and all.

  19. Damian Gabriel Moran

    one quick lightning bolt....

    and it will be crying "INPUT!"

  20. Harry Stottle

    Developing Autonomous Killing Machines

    Should be established as a War Crime.

    This is an example of the sort of thing we shouldn't allow governments (or their subcontractors) to do. The fact that we have to kill people from time to time is a regrettable necessity in the real world. Automating the process should be considered a war crime. There must ALWAYS be a human in the loop, making the final decision to pull the trigger. All other roads lead to "Terminator" technology.

  21. Niall


    is that a proper word, no doubt it's like when you get a huge plateful of food you don't have to worry if you've got consumability. And oh no the toilets out of order lucky for me I've got bladderability.

    And while I'm on about words, "Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Direct-action System", doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, even if you are blessed with pronounceability.

  22. Mark


    However, a human can DUCK.

    I don't see even an Arnie-level neck on this beatsie.

  23. Dave

    "SWORDS" is a CMA

    that is to say, a "Contrived Marketing Acronym"

  24. Andy Bright

    I wonder..

    If one of these could be controlled over the internet by monkeys.. (thx Lewis)

  25. Scott Broukell

    Feed me Ammo now you lazy grunts.....

    Guess thay better start developing the Transformer War Droid that delivers, loads and preps the ammo box / belt, cos that thang can't carry very many rounds can it!

    Or will they leave that task to mere humans cos thay can run fast and carry up to four ammo belts at a time while dodging the incoming!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Cue Will Smith in Independance Day...

    "Oh, I have GOT to get me one of THESE!"

  27. Dave Bell

    What they don't tell you...

    Where at Walter Hopkins they prepare the autonomous control unit.

    Why the Afghans don't have staircases.

    How much armour you need to stop a bullet from the 14.5mm KPV machinegun.

    And why the cute anime cat-girl can fire the 14.5 mm PTRS without embarrassing road-rash.

  28. Richard Silver badge

    @Dave - Surely you mean "COMA"

    for "COntrived Marketing Acronym".

    Also used to describe the mental state of the marketing dept after MAARS finds out what it's being called.

    - Any guesses as to the name of the next one?

  29. Matt

    cool, but

    a water ballon filled with paint... lob it at the thing - instant disablement as the camera cant see...

  30. Wayland Sothcott


    The default setting for it's radio link?

  31. Graham Marsden

    Paging Johnny 5...

    ... is there Life on MAARS?

  32. David Adams
    Thumb Up

    RE. Will they let it through Terminal 5?

    Erm, I'd like to see them try and stop it!!!

    I demand a Play People diorama of the event forthwith!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Niall

    Erm, yes, "survivability" is a valid word. I'm not sure why you'd think otherwise? It's hardly a strange enough word to even be seen as a quirk of the language.

    As for people suggesting all you need to do is attack the camera with a paint bomb or whatever, well, the only thing I can really say about that is WTF.

    People really believe hitting the camera of something firing at you is an easy task? AK-47s, the standard weapon of insurgencies all round the world aren't accurate weapons by any measure so certainly the majority of opponents aren't going to be able to hit it with anything other than a severe lucky hit. Of course some of them do have better, more accurate weapons but really, what's the chance of them being in the right place at the right time to be able to hit the camera without getting blown to pieces first?

    If the camera allows different vision modes also like IR and so forth it's worth pointing out that paint wont exactly help.

    Flanking/attacking from above is the only real option again something like this. It's not something you're going to go head to head with because whilst normal soldiers have to stay behind cover or die whilst trying to pop their head out to take the odd shot, this thing can push forward against the enemy, if it gets hit it'll either carry on or stop in it's tracks. Either way it can do what most soldiers do more effectively and without risk to the soldiers lives and that's call in air support against entrenched enemies.

    Most likely it'll be used to provide backup to soldiers, it'll move first into dangerous areas, it'll be able to pop it's head out and fight where pinned down soldiers can't in ambush situations and so on.

  34. Secretgeek

    Possibly a stupid question.

    How's it powered?

  35. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Disabling the camera

    I agree that shooting out the camera requres a level of skill and opportunity you're not likely to be given the field. But a bucket of paint on a string would do the job, and unlike digging spike pits or planting landmines, it wouldn't do you a lot of harm if it wen't off while you're setting it up.

    And unless we set up a new UN ban on selling Dulux to terrorist regimes, raw materials are going to be cheap and plentiful. Of course, it'll lead to an arms race with special pigment removing wipers being countered by the use of big sheets which can be dealt with by robotic scissors which you can blunt with a rock which can be wrapped in paper which can be cut with...

  36. Matt Eagles


    "a loudspeaker for shouting at non-compliant humans"

    I can only presume that a loud metallic "You have twenty seconds to comply" has already been tested out, and translated into arabic.

  37. Dave The Cardboard Box

    On the loudspeaker equipped MAARS.....

    Will their be an option to Pump Up The Volume?

  38. Daniel B.

    Re: Anybody remember Toys?

    Hm. .. I was thinking precisely that. So now they will have Zevo's "videogame wars"!!!

    Oooh nice .. Toys, Terminator and Short Circuit references!!! Ok, the thing actually looks more like the product of an HK/Johnny 5 breeding project more than a Transformer.

  39. Dave
    Dead Vulture

    Dick Jones...

    "Here just point this gun at it".


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