Russian Gun-wielding Robot Totally 'Not a Terminator,' Says Russian Official
If you're already worried by rising tensions between the U.S. and Russia lately, this story probably won't calm your nerves. A Russian official recently posted images and video of a humanoid robot that's apparently being trained to use guns.
"Robot platform F.E.D.O.R. showed shooting skills with two hands," Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in an April 13 tweet, according to Twitter's translation.
If the sight of a pistol-wielding android calls to mind a certain time-traveling, muscle-bound cyborg with a curiously Austrian accent, fear not. (Up to you.) Rogozin went on to explain that training the robot to fire a gun "is [a] way of teaching machines to allocate priorities and instantly make decisions. We do not create a Terminator, and artificial intelligence ... will be of great practical significance in various spheres."
The next day, Rogozin tweeted this video, which includes some footage of FEDOR blasting away with its handguns like a mechanical Wyatt Earp, all set to some stirring action-movie music. "Russian fighting robots-guys with iron nature," he said.
Before you get too alarmed, FEDOR seems intended primarily for peaceful uses. According to this Russian government press release, the robot — whose name stands for "Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research" — initially was created back in 2014 to replace humans in risky situations, such as rescue work.
FEDOR has been designed to move on uneven surfaces without losing its balance, to work with a drill and other tools, and even to drive a car. Here's a video showing off some of the robot's abilities:
The Russians are apparently so pleased with FEDOR's development that they're planning to send it on a space mission in 2021, during which it will be used to assist astronauts who venture outside the ship on space walks.
FEDOR aside, Russia does have other robots under development primarily for the battlefield, including a tank-like robotic vehicle that can be equipped with a machine gun, a grenade launcher or an anti-missile system. So there's a chance that Terminator-infested robot future's just around the corner.