Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin took to Twitter last week to both praise and defend his country’s gun-toting space robot, FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research).
“Robot platform FEDOR showed shooting skills with two hands,” he wrote, as translated by the Independent.
“We are not creating a Terminator, but artificial intelligence that will be of great practical significance in various fields,” he added.
In Rogozin’s defense, gun slinging ain’t the only skill in FEDOR’s repertoire. Initially developed as a rescue robot, engineers have also trained FEDOR to screw in light bulbs, use keys, and drive cars.
But despite Rogozin’s statement, the video posted online emphasizes the machine’s military applications.
In the video, which begins with a robotic tank obliterating targets with a light machine gun and explosives, FEDOR is shown dual-wielding pistols and knocking out targets with ease. Rogozin took to Facebook to insist that the task was simply a demonstration of FEDOR’s dexterity and decision-making algorithms.
— Дмитрий Рогозин (@Rogozin) April 14, 2017
After two-and-a-half years of development, FEDOR made headlines in 2016 by power-drilling into a pile of cinder blocks. At that time Russia announced plans to send the humanoid robot to the International Space Station to assist astronauts by 2021. Some day FEDOR is expected to work in environments that are deemed too dangerous for humans.
FEDOR won’t be the first robotic astronaut in space and it won’t likely be the last. It will follow in the footsteps of Russia’s SAR-400 and SAR-4001, the United States’ Robonaut and Robonaut 2, Germany’s AILA, and China’s Xiaotian. NASA is also developing an advanced astrobot called Valkyrie, which the agency hopes will help construct Martian colonies prior to manned missions. Meanwhile, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is researching small construction robots for colonizing Mars.
- Spacesuit safety issue prompts NASA to halt ISS spacewalks
- Finishing touch: How scientists are giving robots humanlike tactile senses
- Spot’s latest robot dance highlights new features
- SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronauts wrap up six-month ISS mission
- Space station’s new robotic arm springs to life