Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Russian and Chinese Killer Robots Put Pressure U.S. Defense to Keep Up

Coming soon?

(Photo : Getty Images) T-14 Armata MBTs.

The U.S. is under pressure to keep up with the technological advancements of countries like Russia and China in creating highly autonomous weapons, also known as killer robots.

U.S. deputy defense secretary Robert Work said in a national forum of the Center for National Security that China and Russia are investing heavily in robotics. In Russia's case, he said, the killer robots are already capable of carrying out military operations without humans present in the scene.

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According to Work, Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov said that their military is already preparing to fight in a roboticized scenario. He added that Gerasimov said, “In the near future, it is possible that a complete roboticized unit will be created capable of independently conducting military operations.’”

According to Defense One, the autonomous killer robots that Russia is currently developing will look like an upgraded version of the T-14 Armata tank, made by Russian contractor Uralgonzavod. Vyacheslav Khalitov, the contractor's deputy director-general, said in October that they will be producing prototypes in 2 years or sooner. Khalitov added that their designs are moving away from traditional crewed machinery.

China, on the other hand, has a unique set of killer robots.

Popular Science reported recently that a team of robots designed to work together in urban combat were unveiled during the Beijing 2015 World Robot Conference. These robots were developed by the Harbin Institute of Technology, and are being sold.

At the conference, three models were unveiled. One of them is the attack robot, and can be equipped with assault rifles, machine guns, recoilless anti-tank guns or grenade launchers.

Another model is designed for recon. This one is equipped with NBC detectors and can be carried in a soldier's backpack. The third model, the explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) robot, has a remotely operated arm that is used to disarm explosives.

The three are designed to work as a team: the recon robot looks for explosives, the EOD disarms the located explosives, while the armed robot fights against enemies who are trying to interfere.

Deputy defense secretary Work said during the forum that the U.S. military needs to dominate in these autonomous technologies. However, he said, unlike China's and Russia's, the way the U.S. designs artificial intelligence is still highly dependent on humans.

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