The Super aEgis II, South Korea’s best-selling automated turret, will not fire without first receiving an OK from a human. The human operator must first enter a password into the computer system to unlock the turret’s firing ability. Then they must give the manual input that permits the turret to shoot. “It wasn’t initially designed this way,” explains Jungsuk Park, an engineer for DoDAAM, the turret’s manufacturer.
The turret is currently in active use in numerous locations in the Middle East, including three airbases in the United Arab Emirates (Al Dhafra, Al Safran and Al Minad), the Royal Palace in Abu Dhabi, an armoury in Qatar and numerous other unspecified airports, power plants, pipelines and military airbases elsewhere in the world.
Without clear international regulations, the only thing holding arms makers back from selling such machines appears to be the conscience, not of the engineer or the robot, but of the clients. “If someone came to us wanting a turret that did not have the current safeguards we would, of course, advise them otherwise, and highlight the potential issues,” says Park. “But they will ultimately decide what they want.”