SWORDS Robots Pulled From Iraq For Bad Behavior
Three armed robots were sent to Iraq last year; however, these remote-operated units were pulled almost immediately. The SWORDS units (Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection Systems), which are modified Talon robots in use for at least four years, were removed before firing a shot.
At a recent conference, Army’s Program Executive Officer for Ground Forces, Kevin Fahey, was asked what happened to SWORDS. According to Fahey, "the gun started moving when it was not intended to move," and the plug was pulled on the program.
Apparently, the military preferred to avoid the situation depicted in the 1987 movie Robocop, in which the enforcement droid ED-209 malfunctions during a demonstration and shoots some of the participants.
(ED-209 enforcement droid from Robocop)
The most likely successor to the SWORDS robot is the MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System) which moves faster, has a more powerful weapon, higher torque and enhanced safety features.
MAARS incorporates "fire" and "no fire" zones in its battlefield map and cannot target allied military posts or its own control unit.
(MAARS Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System robot)
17-Apr-2008 Update: Popular Mechanics wrote a long and unclear article to clarify their earlier story - take a look at link End update.
From Non-Answer on Armed Robot Pullout From Iraq Reveals Fragile Bot Industry via
Robot Pulls Gun On US Troops and
MAARS battlefield robot.
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