The South Korean government announced today that they plan to deploy a new robot guard along their border with North Korea. The SGR-A1 developed jointly by Samsung Techwin Co. and Korea University along with two other institutions will be deployed along the border in late 2007 replacing some of the 650,000 South Korean troops. The SGR-A1 has a CCD and an infra-red camera allowing it to detect and track targets at ranges of up to 4Km during the day and 2Km during nighttime.
What makes this robot really scary is that it will actually be equipped with a rifle or light machine gun allowing it to actually fire towards a target. South Korea plans to deploy several hundred of these robot guards at a cost of 200,000 USD each. Samsung claims on their website that the SRG-A1 “has the purpose of protecting the major military base and national strategic site. The system is designed to replace human-oriented guards, overcoming their limitation of discontinuous guarding mission due to its severe weather condition or fatigue, so that the perfect guarding operation is guaranteed.”
Obviously the Koreans are placing much faith in current recognition and tracking technologies or they wouldn’t be deploying these robots. On the other hand, they can basically have them facing North all the time and shoot at anything that moves within a certain distance. At least this way they can minimize the chance of attacking their own personnel as long as they are not stupid enough to cross the border to the North. In the meantime, the North Koreans are preparing their troops for the next generation model with mobile capabilities and so they have placed an order for several thousand copies of Daniel H. Wilson’s, How To Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion