Feeds

Korean DMZ droids 'unfit for combat'

Fleshy troops hand tin soldiers a can of whup-ass

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
'Internet Freedom Panel' to keep web overlord ICANN out of Russian hands – new proposal
Come back with our internet! cries Republican drawing up bill
What a Mesa: Apple vows to re-use titsup GT sapphire glass plant
Commits to American manufacturing ... of secret tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?