Feeds

South Korea to field gun-cam robots on DMZ

Stationary droids forced to sacrifice own lives for human overlords

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Technological colossus South Korea is pressing ahead with efforts to join Israel and America in the white-hot field of killer robots.

Korean sources have announced that Samsung, a company better known for its consumer goods, is manufacturing the SGR-A1 sentry unit for deployment on the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea.

Samsung's SGR-A1 robot

The robots will be in place later this year, according to reports.

The SGR-A1 is a stationary system, enabling its designers to ignore the power, communications, and traction issues which tend to plague its mobile counterparts. Furthermore, unlike some other machines, it has a defined mission which it should genuinely be able to accomplish. The DMZ is constantly patrolled and guarded along its entire length, putting a colossal burden on South Korea's military manpower. With Southern birth rates projected to fall, the Koreans need to use their conscript army more efficiently, and SGR-A1s will save a lot of human sentries' man-hours.

The robot's primary usefulness lies in its camera systems and software, enabling it to pick out genuine intruders and – according to Samsung, anyway – ignore false alarms. Human overseers can then be alerted and decide on a response.

That response can be delivered by the SGR-A1 itself in some cases. Samsung says that the unit can be fitted with a range of weapons. Naturally, the option which grabs the most attention is the one where the robot packs a machine gun, rather than a wussy non-lethal system of some sort.

Reportedly, the SGR-A1's choice of shooter is the Daewoo K3, a fairly straight knockoff of the Belgian FN Minimi squad-auto weapon in service worldwide.

It appears that the SGR-A1 may not be exactly impossible to sneak up on, however – at least from some directions – as Samsung is careful to specify that the weapons mount is equipped with an anti-theft alarm. There is no indication from the company of any option to deliver a warning before opening fire, suggesting that intruders tangling with an SGR-A1 may not get the traditional 30 seconds to comply.

A 5.56mm light automatic is quite a decent bit of firepower, and the SGR-A1's seeming lack of speakers or mikes would suggest an uncompromising battle robot. Nonetheless, SGR-A1s evidently aren't intended to resist the North Korean army for long should the balloon ever go up.

Stationary light-machinegun posts would be easily taken out by company or battalion-level weapons – let alone tanks, artillery, or air support. The SGR-A1 would be useful principally as a sacrificial tripwire in the context of full-on combat, rather than as a warfighting system. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New twist as rogue antivirus enters death throes
That's not the website you're looking for
ISIS terror fanatics invade Diaspora after Twitter blockade
Nothing we can do to stop them, says decentralized network
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.