Korean machine-gun robots start DMZ duty

(CNET)   South Korea’s military has deployed machine-gun-toting robots along the heavily fortified border with North Korea, and a related promo video delivers more shock and awe than Kim Jong-Il singing the blues.

Samsung Techwin and other firms developed the SGR-1 robots, and they have been installed on a trial basis at a post in the central part of the Demilitarized Zone, Yonhap News quoted military officials as saying.

The $200,000 SGR-1s are remote-operated sentry bots that work in tandem with cameras and radar systems. They can detect intruders with heat and motion sensors, and challenge them through audio and video communications. The bots can also fire on targets with 5.5-millimeter machine guns and 40-millimeter automatic grenade launchers.

The officials didn’t say how many bots were set up, but they will be installed throughout the 160-mile DMZ if the trial, which runs through the end of this year, is successful. Tensions along the DMZ are already high following the sinking of the South’s warship Cheonan in March.

“Human soldiers can easily fall asleep or allow for the depreciation of their concentration over time,” Samsung Techwin spokesman Huh Kwang-hak was quoted as saying by Stars and Stripes. “But these robots have automatic surveillance, which doesn’t leave room for anything resembling human laziness. They also won’t have any fear (of) enemy attackers on the front lines.”

Huh said the robots cannot automatically fire on targets, and require human permission to attack, adding, “The SGR-1 can and will prevent wars.”

Indeed, the robot comes off as an almost godlike hero in the high-budget action video below, which is outstanding for its screaming hype and cheesy acting (best line: “What is that monster??”).

Whoever created the vid was clearly channeling Team America. What would Kim Jong-Il think?



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