A robot trial is currently adding a new dimension to the Army’s shooting ranges.
Under the watchful eye of the Small Arms Skill Corps, a number of soldiers on the Castlemartin Range in South Pembrokeshire have been confronted with ‘thinking’ targets.
The wheeled robots, created by Marathon Targets, are remotely controlled and can be programmed to react in a life-like manner in a fire fight, offering realistic training to soldiers.
When the robot is shot an acoustic monitor tells the machine the location of the strike and the machine tips over at the waist to indicate a hit.
The robots can also be programmed to react and the soldiers on the range have to use their judgement as well as their marksmanship.
Dr Alex Brooks, of Marathon Targets, one of the robot’s creators, explained: “The robots can be programmed to move like civilians, who will scatter when fired upon, or as soldiers, who will take up firing positions.”
Lt Col John Whitchurch, running the robot trial, said: “We are always looking to narrow the gap between training and the real thing.
“These robots give the element of surprise, and judgemental shooting that is often a feature of operational engagements.”
The robotic targets are currently undergoing further trials.
Correction, 4 September 2012: The wheeled robots are created by Marathon Targets. Our original story named them as Dynamic Robotics.