Unlike other robotic targets, which are joystick-controlled, the Marathon robots are autonomous: the on-board software allows the robot to react the way that combatants might typically behave, using sensors to locate themselves and other targets while moving in and out of buildings on a live-fire all-terrain range.
A separate study found that robot training allowed 3.5x more personnel to be trained in the same time period compared to traditional training methods.
Dr Brooks did acknowledge the rising concern about autonomous robots and the risks that they might pose. He argues against weapons-toting robots, saying they currently lacked the "perception" of humans – making them, for example, unable to distinguish whether the person carrying a bundle was carrying a baby or was a suicide bomber.
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