Military

South Korea's autonomous robot gun turrets: deadly from kilometers away

DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret
DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret
View 3 Images
DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret
1/3
DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret
DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret
2/3
DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret
DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret
3/3
DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret

If there's one place you don't want to be caught wandering around right now, it's the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. Especially since South Korean military hardware manufacturer DoDAMM used the recent Korea Robot World 2010 expo to display its new Super aEgis 2, an automated gun turret that can detect and lock onto human targets from kilometers away, day or night and in any weather conditions, and deliver some heavy firepower.

The border between North and South Korea is a pretty amazing strip of land. Around 2.5 miles (4 km) wide, it stretches the entire width of the Korean peninsula and it's recognized as the most heavily fortified border in the world. Over the last 60 years, as North and South Korea have faced off in an aggressive and frequently violated ceasefire, this Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) has been one of the deadliest places on Earth for humans. Step into the zone and there's hundreds of thousands of soldiers on either side ready to put a bullet in you just for being there.

As a fascinating aside, this has also made it one of the world's best-kept nature preserves - the complete absence of human interference leaving a more or less pristine habitat for all kinds of wildlife, endangered and otherwise.

The DMZ's history is full of incredible stories; the gigantic tunnels dug by North Korean incursion forces, the tragically doomed friendships between North and South Korean soldiers operating in the zone, the almost unbelievable defection of a South Korean farmer across the DMZ into North Korea. And perhaps this history will go on to include ice-cold robotic killers.

Through military eyes, the existence of a shoot-on-sight no-go zone several kilometers wide opens up options for some interesting high-tech hardware, like DoDaam's Super aEgis II, which we had a chance to look over in person at the Korea Robot World Expo 2010.

The Super aEgis 2 is an automated gun tower that can find and lock on to a human-sized target in pitch darkness at a distance of up to 1.36 miles (2.2 kilometers). It uses a 35x zoom CCD camera with 'enhancement feature' for bad weather, in conjunction with a dual FOV, autofocus Infra-Red sensor, to pick out targets.

Then it brings the pain, either with a standard 12.7mm caliber machine-gun, a 40mm automatic grenade launcher upgrade, or whatever other weapons system you want to bolt on to it, including surface-to-air missiles. A laser range finder helps to calibrate aim, and a gyroscopic stabilizer unit helps correct both the video system's aim and the direction of the guns after recoil pushes them off-target.

DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret
DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret

Each 140 kg (308.6 lb.) unit can be rigidly mounted or put on a moving vehicle, where the gyro stabilization would be a huge asset. They can operate in fully autonomous mode, firing first and asking questions later, or they can be put into a manual mode for more human intervention. All machines communicate back to headquarters through a LAN cable or wireless network.

There's no word about whether the Super aEgis 2 has been deployed in the Korean DMZ in the wake of several recent incidents that threaten to push the peninsula into full-scale, potentially nuclear war, but Dodaam has been exporting units as far afield as the United Arab Emirates.

23 comments
Welsarth
We need these on our Southern border
Bob
At first look this sounds great until you stop and think about how many ways it could be defeated with thermal blocking clothing and decoys. Nor would you want a battle triggered by a deer grazing across it\'s field of view. A more valuable weapon would be a semi-autonomous robot controlled gun that was also capable of instantaneously returning fire based on the enemy\'s muzzle flash and sound location. I have been puzzled that something like this hasn\'t become standard equipment by now. The gun mentioned in the article could also have the undesirable effect of targeting civilians which would severely limit its utility. Being able to instantaneously return fire would be far more useful. As a matter of fact I have been puzzled that we haven\'t developed remote controlled patrol vehicles like those now being used in the air.
Eletruk
Fire first, and not ask questions. It\'s not in its programming.
Bruce Williams
There\'s another (southern) border that comes to mind where this could be used with a non lethal weapon system.
DrifterToo
As is far too common on Gizmag, the hype in this story far exceeds the facts. The first half is all about the DMZ, then we\'re told how this gun could be used there, and finally, we\'re told that gizmag really doesn\'t know anything about the gun\'s deployment. Gizmag had created the story from thin air.
Bill Bennett
Welsarth, Bruce spot on my thoughts exactly though non lethal, naww
Mr Stiffy
Another \"popular mechanics\" wank ourselves over ways to kill other people - and thus bolster the banks investment in war profiteering.....
adamw
@Bob: You write \"Nor would you want a battle triggered by a deer grazing across it\'s field of view\" I have it on good authority that these turrets have incorporated the infamous Bunker Hill algorithm which holds fire until the camera is able to detect the whites of their eyes. Since deer have no whites,, problem solved!
Conny Söre
Sweet! The terminators have arrived. Hook them up to goog-skynet, put them on segways and start executing "plan B".
Chris Ryan
But before they can build any more... THEY MUST CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL PYLONS
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.