China has unveiled a one-tonne unmanned armoured vehicle with the ability to deploy autonomous robots from within.
As pointed out by Popular Science, the machine – known as the Sharp Claw 2 – is akin to the Protoss faction’s mothership in the video game Starcraft, which could unleash swarms of smaller robots.
Developed by high-tech weapons manufacturer the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), Sharp Claw 2 is a six-wheel drive vehicle built with the capability of driving itself around a battlefield. Housed within are a number of Sharp Claw 1 robots, armed with a machine gun and multiple sensors. While the machines seek out targets by themselves, they require human permission to fire its weapon. Sharp Claw 2 can also deploy a quadcopter surveillance drone. Norinco has suggested the entire set of robots could be used for medical evacuation, ammunition transport and border patrol.
The Sharp Claw demonstration comes just weeks after the US Navy revealed it is testing an autonomous fleet of boats capable of launching attacks on enemy vessels that, according to the service, will give “naval warfighters a decisive edge”. The technology – called CARACaS (Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing) – has been developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and allows a number of small boats to escort larger ships unmanned and, if necessary, ‘swarm’ on enemy vessels that pose a threat.
Sharp Claw images via hangkong.com