Mankind has written the next chapter in its inevitable demise and developed a grenade-throwing robot. That again: a GRENADE-THROWING ROBOT.
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is developing the humanoid robot you see above. When complete, the bipedal, battery-powered creation will be used to
destroy weak, soft-fleshed humans fight fires on military boats.
Known as the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (or SAFFiR for short), it has been designed to combat fires in the cramped conditions of a ship, saving lives and costly equipment. It comes armed with cameras and a gas sensor, and is capable of throwing “propelled extinguishing agent technology (PEAT) grenades,” according to the NRL.
SAFFiR is being developed by the NRL and researchers from Virginia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania. It’s the follow-up to Virginia Tech’s CHARLI-L1 (Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence) robot, a five-foot high humanoid robot previously by Virginia students.
Its flat, relatively small feet may not look ideal for a rocking vessel, but the NRL insists it will be a “sure-footed sailor” capable of “walking, balancing and traversing obstacles” alone. Apparently, it can also cooperate with humans as part of a team. It’s going to be tested on board the ex-USS Shadwell, a decommissioned landing ship dock used for firefighting experiments. Tests will take place at the end of 2013.
Combine this with a robot that can outrun any man and another that sneers at obstacles, and what do you have? Robot genocide and a future in an off-planet mining colony, that’s what. When will we learn?