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posted by martyb on Thursday October 14, @01:44AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Sit!-Stay!-Aim!-Shoot!-Good(?)-doggie! dept.

Uh Oh, They Strapped a Sniper Rifle to a Robot Dog:

For years, we've been warning that it was only a matter of time — and now, the inevitable has happened.

Somebody strapped an honest-to-god sniper rifle to the back of a quadrupedal robot dog.

An image shared on Twitter by military robot maker Ghost Robotics shows the terrifying contraption in all its dystopian glory.

Latest lethality 6.5 #creedmoor sniper payload from @SWORDINT. Check out the latest partner payloads @AUSAorg Wash DC. Keeping US and allied #sof #warfighter equipped with the latest innovations. @USSOCOM #defense #defence #NationalSecurity #drone #robotics pic.twitter.com/Dvk6OvL3Bu

— Ghost Robotics (@Ghost_Robotics) October 11, 2021

[...] There's a lot we don't know about the machine, but according to an Instagram post by Sword International, a gun manufacturer, the machine is called the SPUR or Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle.

More at the Sword's website [Ed Comment: Link is sometimes giving 404 since this story was released--JR].


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  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Thursday October 14, @02:46AM (2 children)

    by MostCynical (2589) on Thursday October 14, @02:46AM (#1186851) Journal

    "who's a good doggy?"
    (This is one dog I don't want to pat!)

    it look as though it aims by moving its body, so it won't be particularly effective in close quarters.. even it it were on my side, I'd be staying well behind it!

    --
    “I've learned from experience that asking politely never works unless you have the upper hand.” Daisuke Aramaki, GIS:SAC
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday October 14, @03:10AM (23 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday October 14, @03:10AM (#1186857)

    The guy is having a dystopian moment over a robot dog with a 6.5mm rifle on top of it, but he's just going to reach for another beer in the cooler while watching flying drones shoot missiles at civilians in the middle east in the evening news...

    In short, he's having a problem because the killing machine looks like a friendly pooch instead of looking like an airplane.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 14, @03:39AM (8 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @03:39AM (#1186865) Homepage Journal

      A robot on the ground with a sniper rifle is more discriminating that a drone 3 or 5 miles up in the sky. A single bullet is also more discriminating than a drone missile that blows up the whole wedding, instead of the "terrorist" intended. With or without the sniper rifle, the doggie robot on the ground might chase an individual through a crowd, tracking him to his home, or his underground lair, or whatever. Sans sniper rifle, the robot pooch might stomp a mud hole in the wanted person's arse. Depending on speed and range, it might just keep up with a suspect after he gets in a car and speeds off.

      In short, robotic warfare has just got up close and personal.

      --
      Let's go Brandon!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @04:43AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @04:43AM (#1186878)

        You're dreaming, yet somehow still typing. Neat trick.

        It is still a remote operated killing platform, no better than the young soldier hopped up and out of their minds on speed and junk and sleep deprivation running it. When this thing is deployed with a rifel on it, the victim on the other end is not a "wanted person". Stop presenting fantasies as truth. And if police are operating it, the target (maybe you!) is as good as dead because soldiers at least understand the concept of trigger discipline.

        • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Runaway1956 on Thursday October 14, @04:53AM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @04:53AM (#1186880) Homepage Journal

          You filled up a reply box, and managed to make a post. Too bad you didn't actually say anything. What a wasted opportunity! Maybe you were trying to imply that war is bad? Many soldiers have already observed that fact, and far more succinctly.

          War is hell. - William Tecumseh Sherman

          --
          Let's go Brandon!
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by HiThere on Thursday October 14, @01:58PM

          by HiThere (866) on Thursday October 14, @01:58PM (#1186966) Journal

          It probably is remotely operated. I'd give long odds that that's correct, even though we don't know for sure. We also don't know its capabilities. How does it identify its target? Web cam? How hard is it to jam? to subvert? (My guess is easy to jam, hard to subvert, but you've got to know it's there before you start jamming.)

          IOW, this is an incremental "advance". It adds another layer of insulation between the killer and the victim. It's a very bad direction to head, from the viewpoint of preserving freedoms, but is not, in and of itself, anything spectacular, except that it may turn out to be spectacularly useless. (But what about the next model?)

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @06:35AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @06:35AM (#1186896)

        Runaway, fantasizing about kills, again. Perhaps, Runaway, you should go kill some more of the neighbor's sheep, or the rats, of whatever blood gives you power as a Republican of the Night.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday October 14, @06:16PM (3 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday October 14, @06:16PM (#1187057)

        A single bullet is also more discriminating than a drone missile that blows up the whole wedding, instead of the "terrorist" intended.

        Which then calls the question: what is it we really want? Do we really want to kill that terrorist, or do we actually want the "inevitable" collateral damage?

        While we don't (yet) allow police helicopters to fire AGMs in urban areas, we do tolerate small arms fire by sworn officers of the law in just about any setting imaginable. Since the new dog rifle tech is so selective, can we then expect to see them roaming the Detroit streets RoboCop style "for the common good?"

        --
        John Galt is a selfish crybaby [huffpost.com].
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday October 15, @12:00AM (2 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 15, @12:00AM (#1187160) Homepage Journal

          can we then expect to see them roaming the Detroit streets RoboCop style "for the common good?"

          Yes, we can expect to see that. Especially if you do nothing. Edmund Burke may or may not have said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,”, but it is pretty true. We already see the police departments deploying "surplus" military gear, all around the nation. And, few people object. You can bet everything you've got that the police will want this too. Especially if the Department of Defense will foot the bill for them.

          Write your representatives, and demand that they outlaw police use of military tech that civilians don't have access to. Keep writing to them, and recruit a few dozen friends to do the same.

          --
          Let's go Brandon!
          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday October 15, @02:13AM (1 child)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday October 15, @02:13AM (#1187192)

            We already see the police departments deploying "surplus" military gear, all around the nation. And, few people object.

            Around here they mostly use that gear to serve "no knock" warrants on drug dealers. Something about "only using it on really bad people" seems to get the majority of the locals cheering for it instead of telling them to stop. The delusion that "that would never happen to me, I'm not 'one of those' people" is strong in these parts. Kind of like Rush Limbaugh ragging on drug addicts.

            --
            John Galt is a selfish crybaby [huffpost.com].
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:51AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:51AM (#1186869)

      If killing humans is wrong, why does it feel so right?

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by cmdrklarg on Thursday October 14, @02:50PM (1 child)

        by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @02:50PM (#1186981)

        Perhaps you are psychotic?

        Don't get me wrong, I enjoy mowing down enemies in video games like most, but that's make believe.

        --
        Dealing out the agony within
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:39PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:39PM (#1186998)

          Humans enjoy violence, it's just a fact. Nothing psychotic about it, all too much perfectly normal. "Othering" these things is how they keep happening, and why we never learn.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday October 14, @04:41AM (10 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @04:41AM (#1186877) Journal

      In short, he's having a problem because the killing machine looks like a friendly pooch instead of looking like an airplane.

      And probably because he realized robot murder just fell economically within the budget of the Soylentil population.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @07:16AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @07:16AM (#1186907)

        The obvious rebuttal is, killing is a good thing for Republicans. Killing terrorists. Killing Iranian Generals. Killing immigrants. Killing women, like Gabby. Killing infrastructure funding. Killing Mike Pence. Killing people of color that get in the way of your bullets. Killing khallow. Seems like a waste of lead, or a good rope, or some Strychnine we could have used for a coyote death trap.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday October 14, @01:50PM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @01:50PM (#1186963) Journal
          I realize that post was a waste of 30 seconds of your life. So let's try to make it count for something:

          Killing infrastructure funding.

          Because infrastructure is an unalloyed good, right? Build that bridge [wikipedia.org], no matter where it goes.

          Members of the Alaskan congressional delegation, particularly Representative Don Young [(R)] and Senator Ted Stevens [(R)], were the bridge's biggest advocates in Congress, and helped push for federal funding.[1] The project encountered fierce opposition outside Alaska as a symbol of pork barrel spending and is labeled as one of the more prominent "bridges to nowhere".

          On September 20, 2006, Sarah Palin [(R)] visited Ketchikan on her gubernatorial campaign and said the bridge was essential for the town's prosperity.

          Islands with 50 people need their $400 million bridges too! Terrible Republicans killing that infrastructure!

          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday October 14, @02:09PM (1 child)

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @02:09PM (#1186972) Journal

            Islands with 50 people need their US Postal service too!

            --
            Employers should not mandate wearing clothing. It should be a personal choice. It only affects me. Junk can't breathe!
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @04:05PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @04:05PM (#1187005)

              Stop eating lead paint chips.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @11:42AM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @11:42AM (#1186940)

        It's been a legitimate concern with RC vehicles and drones for years, any idiot could rig them with explosives and remote detonators. Unfortunately, it's no longer a matter of "if" but "when?".

        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday October 14, @02:00PM (3 children)

          by HiThere (866) on Thursday October 14, @02:00PM (#1186969) Journal

          Recoil is probably a problem limiting the device/weapon combinations that would be useful. But yes.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday October 14, @06:20PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday October 14, @06:20PM (#1187061)

            Recoil would indeed limit the weapons that such a platform could practically fire (more than once), but not the size nor power of the projectiles fired. Recoil-less weapons can fire some impressively large and destructive shells.

            Of course, the unsuspecting public would never know if/when half the fuel cell has been replaced with C4... sure, you can only use it once, but if it can get close enough to a high value target? And if "officer friendly" dogs regularly patrol all the time...

            --
            John Galt is a selfish crybaby [huffpost.com].
          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Friday October 15, @11:49AM (1 child)

            With no body-parts anywhere near this thing, a rear-jet recoil reduction technique could be used, such as: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-8994/13/3/396
            Or if you want something with even greater effect, try something like an inertial mass damper, but of course that would reduce the mobility of the bot due to the extra weight. Real world big guns have already solved this problem, there's no reason such technology can't be shrunk, it's just that previously there was little need for it to be shrunk. Of course, the bot itself is an intertial mass, and its legs can act as dampers, there's no reason for the bot itself to not have a "prepare to fire" stance and post-firing recovery programmed into it. If we're making these things smart, why stop at just stair climing and door opening?
            --
            I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
            • (Score: 2, Disagree) by HiThere on Friday October 15, @01:59PM

              by HiThere (866) on Friday October 15, @01:59PM (#1187268) Journal

              But what you're postulating is a highly modified "robot dog", to the extent that it's actually a mini-tank. (And I don't believe the intelligence controlling it resides if the vehicle...this has both significant effects, but among other things to me it means that calling it a robot is incorrect. But we do need a better name than "telefactor".

              --
              Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday October 14, @03:42PM

          Someone strapped a pistol onto a drone a couple of years ago, even "when" was in the past.
          --
          I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:14AM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:14AM (#1186858)
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:16AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:16AM (#1186859)

      ..and it might be news to /some/ people (..who need to get their damn faces out of a smartphone..) that Drones were killing people in Afghanistan around 20 years ago...

      • (Score: 2) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday October 14, @03:25AM (3 children)

        by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday October 14, @03:25AM (#1186862)

        The issue here is that the machine looks like a pet. What's disturbing is that emotions are raised by the looks of the machine rather than the fact that people get killed by machines.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @05:21AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @05:21AM (#1186884)

          I'm thinking a Law should be passed so that all autonomous machines with lethal capacity should have a large single red HAL9000 eye...

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @08:45AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @08:45AM (#1186924)

            They'd just put a set of eyelashes on it.

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday October 15, @02:06PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday October 15, @02:06PM (#1187271) Journal

          So you say they should had given it a pit bull look?

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @07:29AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @07:29AM (#1186910)

      With the precedent already being set, does it matter that the form of the robot is a dog?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:11PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @03:11PM (#1186988)

        Squirrel !

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday October 14, @03:19AM (8 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday October 14, @03:19AM (#1186860)

    The image link drops me into a CloudFlare captcha page. CloudFlare is more my idea of a dystopian future than a robotic rifle.

    Also, the bottom link is broken. Not that it's very dystopian, but I figured I'd mention it.

    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Thursday October 14, @03:49AM (6 children)

      by captain normal (2205) on Thursday October 14, @03:49AM (#1186868)

      That's interesting, the first link is twitter, which I can read even though I'm not a twitter'er. :-)
      The second is def broken another 404. Thought submitters were supposed to test their links. :-))

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @04:22AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @04:22AM (#1186874)

        》The second is def broken another 404

          The publicity-shy doggie put a bullet through the web server.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @06:37AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @06:37AM (#1186897)

          All the 404's are just ranging. They are getting a scope on your position. You know what to do. Unfortunately, janrinok does not.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @12:25PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @12:25PM (#1186947)

          No, it's called Soylentgreening a website.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @04:26AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @04:26AM (#1186875)

        I checked Sword International. It just has a link to another picture on Instagram which DOES require a login.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Thursday October 14, @08:03AM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @08:03AM (#1186915) Journal

        We do check all links at the time that the story is processed but this could be many hours before its release time.

        The problem that we have is that sites go down (unfortunately not due to the Soylentil effect), some social media is removed or deleted, and some source news items are retitled if they appear to be doing better than the original source producer expected - hence a 404. They may come back up or they might not.

        --
        It's always my fault...
      • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Thursday October 14, @08:10AM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @08:10AM (#1186917) Journal
        Alternative link found and substituted--JR Thanks.
        --
        It's always my fault...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @07:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @07:36AM (#1186913)

      Interesting. Are you using a non mainstream browser?

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Username on Thursday October 14, @08:15AM (1 child)

    by Username (4557) on Thursday October 14, @08:15AM (#1186921)

    I'm guessing this is to counter the Machine Gun Robot Cat.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @07:16PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @07:16PM (#1187083)

      And the Robotic Explosive Fire Hydrant.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ilPapa on Thursday October 14, @01:11PM (1 child)

    by ilPapa (2366) on Thursday October 14, @01:11PM (#1186955) Journal

    I'm sorry, but from the images, it does not look like the sniper rifle was strapped on. It looks pretty much purpose-built.

    --
    You are still welcome on my lawn.
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday October 14, @03:48PM

      I think it was a gloss. It definitely looks modular, so "mounted" would have been a better word, as there's no reason other things couldn't be designed with the same base plate: https://sworddefense.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/SPUR-2.png
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Thursday October 14, @02:11PM (2 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @02:11PM (#1186973) Journal

    What I don't understand is why there is no IoT involved with this?

    Imagine the good that could come from having this kind of robot controlled through the convenience and security we've come to expect from IoT.

    --
    Employers should not mandate wearing clothing. It should be a personal choice. It only affects me. Junk can't breathe!
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Immerman on Thursday October 14, @02:41PM (1 child)

      by Immerman (3985) on Thursday October 14, @02:41PM (#1186979)

      How do you know there isn't?

      They mention they don't know whether it's remotely operated or autonomous, but my guess would be that even in the unlikely event that they let an autonomous killing machine loose on the battlefield, they'd still want the option of remote operation for strategic applications and emergency override, which would probably make it an I(di)oT device. Not like there's a whole lot of point in having a robot sniper operated by a nearby sniper - snipers already stay far from the action.

      Now, probably it has a point-and-click interface so any idiot who can click a target can snipe with it effectively, but you still don't want some idiot sitting around the battlefield staring at a video screen. Not when a different idiot a continent away can be doing the same thing without risking their life or requiring all the expennsive logistics support of a man on the ground.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday October 14, @03:11PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @03:11PM (#1186987) Journal

        I wonder if we should place bets that this thing is remotely operated using a familiar common game controller?

        --
        Employers should not mandate wearing clothing. It should be a personal choice. It only affects me. Junk can't breathe!
  • (Score: 1) by shrewdsheep on Thursday October 14, @03:16PM (1 child)

    by shrewdsheep (5215) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 14, @03:16PM (#1186989)

    The first website to have been SNed, ever!

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @06:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @06:55PM (#1187076)

      Ok I vote we call it 'the website got soyled'

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @09:05PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, @09:05PM (#1187109)

    better fed the dog and go for a walk if it wants too ...
    thank god for poweroutages :)

  • (Score: 2) by gawdonblue on Friday October 15, @03:25AM

    by gawdonblue (412) on Friday October 15, @03:25AM (#1187197)
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