Feeds

Korean DMZ droids 'unfit for combat'

Fleshy troops hand tin soldiers a can of whup-ass

High performance access to file storage

The South Korean armed forces have announced that a year-long trial of robotic guard systems versus human troops has been judged a failure for the mechanoids. South Korea remains committed to significant automation of its defences, but intends to move forward with different kit - possibly with overseas involvement.

Defense News reports that the present robotic network was described as "unfit for combat" by South Korean officials, following lengthy comparison of the kit against regular front-line fighting fleshies. The $4m, year-long pilot project was run by Samsung, and is believed to have included the company's SGR-A1 robotic security station, which features electro-optic sensors and a weapons mount for a light machine gun, gas-bomb launcher or rubber-bullet weapon.

"We're reviewing how to go ahead with the project and studying ways to fix the system's problems at the same time," Major Cho Ok-hyeon told Defense News.

Details of the problems weren't revealed, but the magazine also quoted an unnamed official who said that "the system's operational failure at night means it could not replace guard and observation missions conducted by [human] troops".

This might not be altogether surprising, as it is apparently far from impossible to sneak up on an SGR-A1. Samsung's engineers have felt it necessary to equip the droid's gun mount with an anti-theft alarm, which doesn't speak volumes for their confidence in its surveillance capability.

Guarding and patrolling the 253-km Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which separates South Korea from the communist North, is a hugely manpower-intensive task. South Korea's military conscription is unpopular, and anyway forecast to yield fewer soldiers in future due to falling birth rates. Thus, the Seoul authorities remain interested in automation for the DMZ.

Another unnamed procurement official hinted that South Korea might call in help from other countries engaged in robo-border technology programmes, perhaps including the US and Israel. America has lately suffered some setbacks in its Eye-O-Sauron style scanner-mast effort, but Israeli authorities seem comparatively pleased with their "robot sniper" line on the Gaza borders.

The Defense News report can be read here. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.