Russia's equivalent of DARPA recently invited President Vladimir Putin for a demonstration of its latest creation: an "advanced" combat robot. The Russian president was eventually bored with a demonstration that did not seem to have the slightest bit of advanced technology in it.
Russia's Central Scientific Research Institute of Precision Engineering Tochmash in Moscow was proud to demonstrate what it referred to as "combat robot" to Vladimir Putin. Under normal circumstances, when you describe a machine as an advanced combat robot, you would expect something similar to the Terminator or perhaps even Boston Dynamics' BigDog. However, the president was visibly bored when he was presented with his country's newest combat robot prototype.
Putin stared vacantly at a frail looking effigy mounted on an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Though the institute intended the robot to be autonomous, its present iteration wasn't even driving the ATV on its own. The "robot" merely sat on the vehicle, while some engineer from Tochmash remotely controlled it from a distance.
Putin looked on as the robot fired five gunshots and drove an ATV cautiously around a snowy track with a random fire in the background. But despite the sophistication of the mechanical zombie, the Russian President seemed visibly bored by its antics. Unless further details were left out of Russia Today's video coverage of the unveiling, it's essentially a glorified remote control toy car – with guns.
Despite the humongous disappointment clearly visible on Putin's face, Tochmash isn't giving up. Future versions of the robot will be able to provide emergency first aid, assist in the construction of infrastructure, and travel over difficult terrains, reported Sputnik News.
While it may have been wise for the military institute to wait until one of the advanced iterations was ready, the advanced combat robot is part of a larger Russian initiative to revitalize the military with "autonomous tanks, unmanned vehicles, and other weapons one won't be ashamed of in the 21st century," reported Popular Mechanics.
Advanced unmanned combat vehicles that can autonomously navigate are being conceptualized and designed by America's DARPA. Many of its prototypes have yet to begin their journey with no human interaction. Hence, the world was surprised when Russia claimed to have built one. However, after looking at the demonstration and Vladimir's expression, it is clear that there's still time for advanced combat robot akin to the Terminator.
[Image Credit | YouTube Video Screen Grab]