back to article Let's give these quadruped robot dogs next-gen XM7 rifles, says US Army

Sometimes it feels like the most terrifying ideas from science fiction are simply fodder for the future of the military - case in point, word reaching us that the US Army wants to strap its next-gen service rifle to the top of robot sentry dogs.  The Army envisions attaching its new Sig Sauer XM7 rifle to a Ghost Robotics …

  1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    one small intellectual step ...

    between a standard issue, remotely controlled rifle dog and a fully autonomous frikkin' laser shark ...

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: one small intellectual step ...

      It is still missing:

      • 1000+ year fusion cell energy supply
      • self repair capability
      • artificial stupidity/intelligence (depending perspective)
      • complete autonomy
      • infinite reload or make-your-own-bullit capability
      • procreation

      The items "someone stupid enough to build it" and "what could possibly go wrong" have already been achieved.

  2. trevorde Silver badge

    I'm worried about a soldier throwing a hand grenade and the dog fetching it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wouldn't that kill two birds with one stone, metaphorically? One fewer grenade, one fewer robot, and one or more fewer soldiers.

      Just wait until they're programmed to go after civilians.

  3. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Meh

    Good Doggy

    Russia has also reportedly developed its own armed robot dog, though reports suggest the whole thing may also have been less next-gen tech, and more a scam by Russian defense contractors hoping to claw some rubles out of the Kremlin.

    It's comforting to understand the high standard of business ethics in the West precludes the ingenious from thus bamboozling the Pentagon.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Good Doggy

      Ah, the dreaded "Robot Dog Gap"!

  4. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    Somehow reminds me of those jet-power supersonic robot dogs in Snowcrash.

    1. Killing Time

      Need to add some organics as they were a bit more cyborg, as I recall...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, thank you for the offer ..

    .. but I'll pass on the job of being service engineer for these things.

    :)

    1. TheRealRoland
      Terminator

      Re: No, thank you for the offer ..

      "Eh, i always wait until they run out of ammo, then they're easier to maintain."

  6. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    anyone thought of using this newfangled robot tech for clearing mine fields?

    Thereby reducing deaths instead of increasing them.

    1. cookieMonster Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Nope, but I’d put money on someone thinking of using them to lay mines.

      1. Jim Mitchell
        Mushroom

        I think they already have smallish RC wheeled vehicles that trundle along and drop mines in their wake being used in Ukraine.

    2. Alumoi Silver badge

      Meatsacks are still cheaper.

      1. Persona

        Not only cheaper, they can be mass produced by unskilled labor too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What Do You Mean by Uskilled!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            i think they mean it just needs a turkey baster

  7. Roger Kynaston
    Pirate

    fool proof way to counter these beasts

    I presume that like all dogs they will regularly sniff each others backsides? Simply hack the weapons system to fire the gun when presented with a robotic arse/ass. Job done!

  8. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Robots

    If each state is going to build robots to fight...

    Then why not just move it online and build CoreWars arena?

  9. TheRealRoland
    Happy

    Happy Skynet Judgment Day

    Perfect news for such an occasion...

  10. Luiz Abdala
    Terminator

    10-round magazine...

    Yeah, a DARPA BigDog can carry 340 lbs. It could be probably carrying a M134 Minigun at 85lb. with a lot of 7.62x 51 NATO ammo and extra batteries, but they say it will carry just a rifle with 10 rounds.

    This is the California-Compliant robot dog version, but you can bet someone is strapping a Minigun to a BigDog while we talk, but totally off the record.

    (Discontinued because gasoline engine, pffft, not a problem for a minigun armed mule, don't believe that excuse!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10-round magazine...

      Think outside the box. Imagine one of these with a minigun, and two or more more following it carrying 150 kilos of ammunition with a plug-n-play auto-loader. Now sell them to NATO countries, and into Central America. Now wait until they show up in Reston in take-no-prisoners mode.

      If you really want nightmares, just wait until the next version which will be equipped with parachutes and hardpoint mouting hardware so they can be airdropped by any NATO fighter jet. Then the next version will have a cartridge mount that will fit in the bomb bay of a B-52. Can you imagine the carnage that would unleash..

      1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

        Re: 10-round magazine...

        Still quite expensive compared to air dropped mines etc

        1. Luiz Abdala
          Joke

          Re: 10-round magazine...

          The Geneva Suggestion would like to know your location regarding those air dropped mines.

      2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: 10-round magazine...

        So when the gun doggie is out of ammo, one of the other dogs mounts it from the rear and proceeds to start pumping more ammo in? Will hitting them with a hose work?

  11. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Great. The Americans just found another way to kill their own and their allies' soldiers. Meanwhile the angry men in sandals will continue to walk all over them.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Live Field Test options...

    Like maybe in a currently flaring up region of eastern Europe. The defenders would love to field test them. As a bonus The DoD would even pay for the field testing.

  13. JulieM Silver badge

    Geneva Conventions

    In all seriousness, why is there not a Geneva Conventions-type, internationally-recognised ban on autonomous weapons?

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Geneva Conventions

      Looking to History, those conventions don't really work in a conflct. What works is the fear of retaliation from the enemy. That's why no toxic gas was used during WW2.

    2. Luiz Abdala
      Trollface

      Re: Geneva Conventions

      It is never a war crime the first time. No ban on autonomous weapons YET.

      And you can get that in a t-shirt.

      https://www.bunkerbranding.com/cdn/shop/products/newwarcrimeblk.jpg?v=1655220545

    3. Xalran

      Re: Geneva Conventions

      Well, seeing how *some* countries, despite being signatory, consider the Geneva Convention and it's various addendums... by targeting civilians, using scorched earth strategy, Rape/Pillage/Plunder and so on..

      Even if an addendum was written on autonomous weapons, it first would have to be signed by countries, and then actually upheld...

  14. Xalran
    Coat

    K9

    I wonder why nobody went the K9 way... with the rotating ears/antennas and the complete ground effect ( with wheel )...

    1. Francis Boyle

      But K9 was a good dog

      who only had a stun setting.

  15. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    So the dog

    Has a rifle in its mouth? That bark's gonna bite! What's next, a plastic explosive dispenser out back?

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