Israel has deployed a semi-autonomous robot dubbed the “Jaguar” along its border with Gaza to assist soldiers on patrol.
Developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, the Jaguar features a six-wheeled chassis and is equipped with a 7.62 mm MAG machine gun. It also has high-resolution cameras, powerful headlights, state-of-the-art communication transmitters, and a remote-controlled PA system.
The tank-like robot has the ability to transport itself to a preset destination. It can also spot and avoid obstacles by utilizing dozens of sensors and an advanced driving system. Moreover, the platform can self-destruct if it falls into enemy hands.
“We have led a groundbreaking technological development – an independent robot that reduces the combat soldier’s friction with the enemy and prevents risks to human life. It even knows how to charge itself – almost like an iRobot,” Head of Autonomy and Robotics at the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. Col. Nathan Kuperstein, remarked.
A photo of the Jaguar at the Gaza border has surfaced online. The Dead District spotted the hi-tech equipment moving close to the fences separating the two areas.
— The Dead District (@TheDeadDistrict) June 19, 2021
Concerns Over Autonomous Weapons Systems
The Future of Life Institute stated in an open letter that autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons systems should not be deployed to replace soldiers on complex missions.
The organization pointed out that the continued development of more military robots could lead to a global AI arms race since the new combat technology will become easier and cheaper to mass-produce. It also warned that terrorists, dictators, and warlords could acquire such hi-tech equipment and use it against the military.
“If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow…” the letter stated.
“Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations, and selectively killing a particular ethnic group. We, therefore, believe that a military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity. There are many ways in which AI can make battlefields safer for humans, especially civilians, without creating new tools for killing people,” it added.