Feeds

Korean DMZ droids 'unfit for combat'

Fleshy troops hand tin soldiers a can of whup-ass

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile 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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.