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The Military Technology

A Peek At South Korea's Autonomous Robot Gun Turrets 298

Posted by timothy
from the next-week-at-thinkgeek dept.
cylonlover writes "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."
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A Peek At South Korea's Autonomous Robot Gun Turrets

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  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by rbarreira (836272) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:05AM (#34484672) Homepage

    can it detect cloaked spies carrying sappers?

    • by grantek (979387)

      No, but you can bypass it with 1 multitool

      • by GF678 (1453005)

        No, but you can bypass it with 1 multitool

        But only if you're got 'Master' electronics training.

        • There are usually explosive crates nearby many turrets in both DX1 and DX2. If you are clever and observant enough, you can often sneak around and throw the crate at the turret, thus disabling it without having to waste your precious multitools.
    • by kshade (914666) *

      can it detect cloaked spies carrying sappers?

      It doesn't have to, North Korea will just scout rush it until it's out of ammo (or reached its kill limit).

      • StarCraft was specifically introduced to South Korea to train them to handle zerg rushes. Would be one hell of a zerg though.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:06AM (#34484676)

    The Juche spirit is indomitable. The capitalist lap dogs of the South cannot hope to win because their people are weak and unwilling to die for their country.

    • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:54AM (#34484872) Homepage

      Amateur.

      The American reactionaries and their South Korean lapdogs are becoming so brazen-faced as to distort and justify the crimes perpetrated by American imperialists against humanity in the past, kicking up a whirlwind of militarism throughout their societies. It is a legal and moral obligation and a historical task of the United States to redeem its past crimes. No matter how much water may flow under the bridge, the Korean people will never forget the American imperialists' history of criminal aggression of Korea. It has become as clear as noonday that the U.S. seeks to turn the Korean Peninsula into a sea of fire. America will pay for it without fail, today or tomorrow, the only question is when. There exists no "human rights issue" in the DPRK as all its people form a big family and live in harmony helping and leading one another forward under the man-centred socialist system. It is quite ludicrous for the U.S. to talk about human rights as it has wantonly violated the sovereignty of Afghanistan by openly mounting a military attack on it, state-sponsored terrorism, defying the un and international law and ruthlessly trampled underfoot the human rights of innocent people there. The Obama administration is massacring civilians in an organized way by use of most destructive high-tech weapons.They cannot stop the juche socialism as practiced by the DPRK. A heyday unprecedented in the history of the nation lies ahead of the brave fraternal Korean people, who are courageously rushing towards the world by tapping the inexhaustible potentials of Songun era. Socialism in the DPRK is winning a victory after victory. The Workers' Party of Korea has covered the road of victory and glory under the wise leadership of President Kim Il Sung.The recent Conference of the WPK demonstrated the iron will of the Korean people to remain faithful to the leadership of Kim Jong Il, holding him at the top post of the WPK. The might of the army and people of the DPRK united close around the great WPK serves as a source of invincibility of Korean-style socialism. World-startling events are taking place one after another in socialist Korea. This has convinced the world progressive political parties of a victory of socialism. Bright future is in store for the WPK and people holding Kim Jong Il in high esteem. Kim Jong Il is leading the campaign for the building of a great, prosperous and powerful nation to a brilliant victory as he steers the efforts to effect a great revolutionary upsurge on the strength of single-minded unity.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by martas (1439879)
        Just so no modders get confused, this is a joke. Or rather, it is a depressingly accurate imitation of typical shameless communist propaganda.
      • by queBurro (1499731)
        Kim Jong Il, he was in 'team america' right?
      • by c6gunner (950153)

        You have WAAAAAY too much free time.

  • The real reason they have Autoturrets is because of the notorious Axe Murder Incident (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axe_murder_incident)

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:20AM (#34484746) Journal
    I tend not to get too excited by weapons since they are designed to kill people. Still, these are primarily defensive.

    What is really great about them though is that they can be used s an alternative to landmines. There has been a strong demand for a landmine ban from a lot of the world for some time, but they have been unable to get US backing. Now, the US is pretty responsible with its landmines, but the failure of such a major nation to agree to treaties bannning mines has resulted in many less responsible nations refusing to do so either.

    These autonomous sentries are a lot easier to spot and deactivate, and considerably less likely to be forgotten about. They're not exactly pleasant but far better than the alternative.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by donotlizard (1260586)
      Those things remind me of the robot sentry units in the Special Edition of Aliens.
    • by alfredos (1694270)
      I guess you're right, it's the lesser evil. Still, I find it scaring and can't understand what makes a human being work day after day to design and manufacture such an evil device. Clumsy and random, as Obi-Wan would put it.
      • Most people who work on defence projects only see a small part of the systems they work on. There are a lot of technologies here. Optical processing, radar tracking. All of that has civilian applications and it is likely some of the software is commercial. Likewise the two axis mount for this device looks much like a mount for a CCTV camera or a telescope. The few people who actually know they are working on weapons probably do it for the money. Its a job like any other.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @07:06AM (#34484910) Homepage Journal

        >>I guess you're right, it's the lesser evil. Still, I find it scaring and can't understand what makes a human being work day after day to design and manufacture such an evil device. Clumsy and random, as Obi-Wan would put it.

        Maybe it was designed by a bunch of guys who didn't want to see their friends killed and wives raped.

        Weapons aren't evil when used to defend oneself.

        • by TheLink (130905)

          Weapons aren't evil when used to defend oneself.

          They're only evil when the turret tinkering goes wrong...

        • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @08:06AM (#34485074)

          > Weapons aren't evil when used to defend oneself.

          Weapons are not evil. To be evil requires the capacity for good, Some "evil" people are not evil because they lack this trait; they are insane.

          Even the ICJ has admitted that nuclear weapons might be legitimately used in some circumstances, for example.

          And enough rifles will kill as many people as died at Hiroshima, or Dresden. Or under Stalin.

          A weapon is a tool, to be used or abused or destroyed or thrown away. Your point--"when used to defend oneself"--shows that It is what we do with the weapon that establishes moral worth.

          • To a North Korean killed by a turret - their family says they're evil.
            To a South Korean killed by a turret - their family says they're evil.

            It's a matter of perspective.

        • by mapkinase (958129)

          I am glad those South Koreans turrets can distinguish between rapists and refugees.

          Sarcasm aside, what troubles me is that those defensive weapons are not about defense, it's about eliminating any (by any I mean literally 100%) risk for defender. When war becomes like this: drones and roboturrets - there is no factor of retribution holding back the application of war as one of the solutions.

          War always carried a heavy price on both sides: attackers and defenders, and that is why it has been a major deterrent

          • Sarcasm aside, what troubles me is that those defensive weapons are not about defense, it's about eliminating any (by any I mean literally 100%) risk for defender.

            Why should a defender expose himself to risk when by definition he is likely not the one at fault here? How can such a defensive solution be "applied" except by an attacker first attacking?

            It's not like they're going to turret crawl to Pyonyang... Wait...

            The national passtime of South Korea is StarCraft... Siege Tank crawl... My God, it suddenly makes sense! Oh hell! WE'RE FUCKED!

            • by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @08:39AM (#34485218) Homepage Journal

              The national passtime of South Korea is StarCraft... Siege Tank crawl... My God, it suddenly makes sense! Oh hell! WE'RE FUCKED!

              North Korea has a lot of very cheap units, while the South has a lot of very powerful, but expensive units.
              It's pretty much a Zerg vs Protoss battle.
              All the South has to do is survive the initial rush. After that, their eventual victory is pretty much assured.

              • not to mention the hordes of skilled tacticians the south has due to a decade of intensive starcraft training. They could just recruite the world's 1000 best player and have enough mindes to micro the entire northern army into submission with m&m rushes.

                In this light, it wouldnt surprise me in the least if blizzard is secretely a subsidiary of the south korean department of defense

            • by digitig (1056110)
              In an armed conflict, both sides attack and both sides defend. Assuming there is a side not at fault, it's just as likely to be the one attacking as defending.
          • by X0563511 (793323)

            I'm fairly certain (I recall seeing these before?) the turret CAN run autonomously, however they are supposed to be supervised and do not engage unless an operator confirms it. The operator(s) have access to zooming cameras in the unit under both visible and infrared spectra.

        • by Aceticon (140883)

          Maybe it was designed by a bunch of guys who didn't want to see their friends killed and wives raped.

          Weapons aren't evil when used to defend oneself.

          Pretty much all wars in History are sold to the unwashed masses as us defending ourselves against them so when it comes to war claiming "I did it to protect my family" carries a lot less weight than it would seem for those who don't really know History.

          That said, I do agree that on their own weapons are neither good nor evil - its their use (or not) that maters

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by digitig (1056110)

          Weapons aren't evil when used to defend oneself.

          Not so simple. What if the "oneself" is a mass-murderer in a police shootout?

          • by BeanThere (28381)

            Uhrm, I thought it was pretty clear from the context that OP was referring to good, civilized, law-abiding people defending themselves from non-law-abiding aggressors.

            • by digitig (1056110)
              Trouble is, nobody seems to have invented a weapon yet that can tell if it's being used by the good, civilised, law-abiding person defending himself or by the other guy. And when it comes to international relations, things rarely divide along such tidy lines anyway.
      • by BeanThere (28381) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @09:53AM (#34485688)

        I guess you're right, it's the lesser evil. Still, I find it scaring and can't understand what makes a human being work day after day to design and manufacture such an evil device.

        Don't worry, when your next door neighbor wants to blow you to smithereens just for existing, you will finally understand.

        The world has bad people in it. Good people need to defend themselves from bad people so civilization can continue. It's really that simple. Civilization can exist only as a small, ephemeral clearing carved out in a metaphorical forest of chaos; you live entirely within the clearing. The clearing is always under attack, but you live entirely within the clearing, so you never actually see what is happening at the fringes of that clearing in order to hold back the forces that would otherwise overwhelm the clearing.

      • Evil exists, evil people exist. If you want to protect yourself from evil people you need a way to do so. If someone believes that their country stands on the side of good and justice against countries governed by evil people then they would not view the device as evil but as a necessary defense from evil. This is of course a gross simplification but hopefully it gets the idea across.
    • Right up until they rise and overthrow their human masters.

      A landmine is not going to plot Judgement Day. :P

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @07:20AM (#34484970)

      I tend not to get too excited by weapons since they are designed to kill people. Still, these are primarily defensive.

      There are no such things as defensive or "primarily defensive" weapons. Or pehaps it would be more accurate to admit that there are such but the distinction is completely irrelevant.

      Let's imagine that during the cold war one of the sides would have came up with a technology that would have given them 100% protection from the opponent's missiles. This would have been primarily defensive technology (and one that protects the civilian population!) but it obviously would have meant that the side gets a massive offensive advantage (as the other side can't retaliate). Or let's imagine that a nation occupies another nation and then uses primarily defensive weapons to hold those areas under control (to prevent the attacks of the resistance movement and such). Is that offensive or defensive? In nearly any imaginable conflict, the attacker also needs to defend itself and as such it doesn't really matter whether a weapon is defensive or not.

      You could make a point that the defensive weapons help keep the current situation stable (Let's deploy those to every border of every nation and if they're efficient enough... Whoo! No war!) but that doesn't really matter unless we know that the current situation is and will be the preferred one. There are (and will be) plenty of dictatorships that will use the newest defensive technologies to prevent revolutions. I know that I'm somewhat stretching the literal meaning of the word but I'd still like to say that sometimes keeping the situation stable is equivalent to an offensive action (That a cruel dictator is equivalent to an occupying force)... Now, some entities always can defeat the newest technologies, others can't. This essentially means that every time a new (defensive) weapon is created, more power is concentrated to the entities that are already the most rich and powerful. That's the only stability that those create.

      As for those being alternative to land mines... Interesting point. I bet that those are (and will be, for the foreseaable future) so much more expensive than landmines, though, that it won't be "either-or". It will probably be "landmines" or "both".

    • by couchslug (175151)

      They aren't really an alternative to mines in the DMZ, but a supplement and can usefully cover mined areas.

      Land mines as used on the Korean Peninsula are a Good Thing in that they can help slow sudden southward movement of the forward-deployed Nork hordes when they try for a second time to shove the southern forces into the sea. They came very close the first time, lest we forget.

    • > ... but the failure of such a major nation to agree to treaties banning mines has resulted in many less responsible nations refusing to do so either.

      Don't confuse a rationalization, excuse, or purported claim to legality with an actual cause.

      They refuse to agree to treaty banning landmines because they don't want to ban land mines.

      • by 91degrees (207121)
        True, but there are a lot of aspect to "don't want to", and they need a better excuse than that in the face of public and international pressure. "We need to defend the DMZ/surround our camps with landmines" can be countered with "You can use these instead." "The US is still using them" can only be countered with the US no longer using them. Even less ethical arguments such as "The weapons manufacturers like the money" can be countered with "The weapons manufacturers are quite happy to sell you these ins
    • "Being responsible" with landmines? How do you do that, except by NOT using them at all?

      • I cannot confirm or deny the degree to which any particular power/entity does these things; but the steps to landmine responsibility are actually pretty clear:

        1. Good mapping: So you want to do some area denial? Please be damned sure about exactly what area you are denying, and write it down. GPS fixes per mine are now technologically feasible, and are ideal; but accurate boundaries of minefields are the absolute baseline.

        2. Intelligent fuzes/case breakdown designs: Your classic mine is a waterproof b
    • Now, the US is pretty responsible with its landmines,...

      Tell that to the Vietnamese.

    • by GooberToo (74388)

      What is really great about them though is that they can be used s an alternative to landmines.

      Its hard to imagine these are much of an alternative to land mines. Land mines are specifically designed to injure - not kill. An injured soldier is out of the fight. The other soldiers who must tend to the injured soldier are not only out of the fight, but demoralized. Everyone who saw the soldier step on that mine is now very fearful, lacking a desire to more forward. They too are demoralized.

      Land mine:
      injure
      demoralize
      slow or stop forward progress - removing troop momentum

      Auto gun:

    • These autonomous sentries are a lot easier to spot and deactivate, and considerably less likely to be forgotten about. They're not exactly pleasant but far better than the alternative.

      Easy to deactivate, yes. All you have to do is get near enough to them to be able to turn them off... oh, wait a minute...

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:21AM (#34484752)

    At some point, they have enough conventional weapons that they can guarantee each other's destruction even without the need of nukes.

    • by Renraku (518261)

      Step 1: Acquire a lot of these.
      Step 2: Place them at borders.
      Step 3: Get nervous that other countries are doing the same.
      Step 4: Demand other countries withdraw theirs.
      Step 5: Invade other country because they must be hiding something so awesome.

    • > At some point, they have enough conventional weapons that they can guarantee each other's destruction even without the need of nukes.

      They're already there. But at that point, there's a good chance they'll use the nukes anyway, even if they don't need them.

    • by DarthVain (724186)

      Or just one way really. I am pretty sure NK has enough artillery aimed at the SK capital to level it. What is SK going to aim at? The oodles of infrastructure than NK has built?

  • Maintenance (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nineteen-Delta (1892866) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:26AM (#34484766) Homepage
    I'd hate to be the maintenance guy: "You sure this thing's been swithced off?" "Sure thing, go right ahead...." "Okay, it's a four kilometer hike, and don't turn it back on until I've checked it, and walked back...."
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:26AM (#34484768)

    What's really great about these turrets is that besides being able to fire missiles long range, they can also detect cloaked units up to 7 spaces away. This is especially useful for detecting ghosts and wraiths.

  • just send in cardboard cutouts on Segways until the turret runs out of ammo. I wonder if they would shoot at someone walking on their hands, or maybe you can program them to only shoot people with bad fashion/hair...hmmmm
  • Total Speculation (Score:5, Informative)

    by gsslay (807818) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:29AM (#34484780)

    If you read the "story" you will see that the entire DMZ angle is entirely speculation. The writer doesn't know if this weapon is used there or not, but that doesn't stop him waffling on about it, before admitting its all speculation at the end.

  • by ledow (319597) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:32AM (#34484790) Homepage

    Do they have limited ammo with a cool retro yellow-black interface, which ticks down to zero with appropriate warnings, is fooled by throwing an empty bucket in front of it, and which exhausts its entire ammo supply in under 30 seconds?

    Either way, the Aliens:Special Edition guys probably would like to have a look at them.

    • From the article

      Then it brings the pain, either with a standard 12.7mm caliber machine-gun, a 40mm automatic grenade launcher upgrade...

      Probably like more than just a look with that upgrade. I would think even aliens would have to think twice at taking on a grenade launcher.

      • by ledow (319597)

        But, Christ! They're wall-to-wall in there!

        P.S. Also stick an automated gun turret in the false ceiling.

  • I'm just glad that South Korea has learned lessons about winning the hearts and minds of the populace, and is not making itself look like an evil faceless inhuman foe to the people of the North.
    • Re:I'm just glad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @07:29AM (#34484992) Homepage Journal

      I have worked in South Korea and believe me they take security seriously. I didn't see any Security Theatre at all while I was there. There were lots of guns and fences though.

    • Unless South Korea has suddenly taken a turn for the almost-cartoonishly-evil, I'm fairly sure that, by the time North Koreans are seeing these things in any quantity, there isn't a propaganda war going on anymore... Robotic sniper turrents installed right at the edge of the DMZ, picking off North Korean peasantry would, indeed, be pretty tasteless; but so long as they confine any shooting to within the DMZ, the fact that you'll be facing robots one way and conscripts the other is just a matter of economics
  • by Viol8 (599362) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:38AM (#34484826)

    .... they're a sitting duck for a missile or shelling to take them out.

    • by Magada (741361)

      Narrow-gauge light rail might work. This thing is supposed to deal primarily with infiltrators anyway. Not much discretion in blowing something up with a missile.

    • For the "high octane nightmare fuel"/"judgement day" effect, I recommend a collaboration between this automated gun turret and the slightly creepy "Bigdog" robot...
    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      So are guard posts. Your point? You don't think the intelligence services of both states haven't already identified every known or suspected emplacement within 10-15 miles of the border? I can guarantee you that each side has contingency plans wherein each guard post, depot, or artillery emplacement has some sort of fire pre-targeted on it; whether it be artillery, air strikes, or simple rifle fire. Fixed border emplacements are never designed to stop. They are designed to slow down. And the best thin
  • by Ynot_82 (1023749) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:40AM (#34484836)

    ....one hell of a Top Gear episode

    We'll start off here, in Busan, South Korea
    and race up the east coast into the demilitarised zone between N & S Korea
    Avoiding the barrage of automatic gun fire, we'll hurtle into North Korea

    Now, as many western maps have no details on the layout of North Korea, we'll all become James May for the day, and probably get lost
    But by mid-afternoon we must have traversed west through North Korea, and begin our journey back south down the western coast

    Again, avoiding the barrage of automatic gun fire as we pass into South Korea, we'll finish the race in a town called Gwangju for a traditional Korean evening meal (which Hammond won't eat)

    • and to top it off, they all get a budget of 1000 dollars, and are only allowed to buy hyundais!

      I can see it now, Clarkson welding several tons of plate steel to a 1600 pound hyundai excel to make it bullet proof

    • by maroberts (15852)

      Forget May and Clarkson, they'd stand out too much. With a little skin/hair dye and a haircut, Richard Hammond might pass for a local ....

    • by gsslay (807818)

      Does Clarkson get shot? His insistence at taking all corners sideways would make for a lovely wide target. That would definitely be worth seeing. Otherwise... meh.

  • But do they (Score:5, Funny)

    by FunPika (1551249) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @07:02AM (#34484896) Journal
    have extremely cute voices [youtube.com]?
  • ...what ever happened to the Three Laws of Robotics?
    • the three laws protect humans, the simple sollution is to (as has been done since ancient times) dehumanize the enemy.

      In this case it is a case of "if (enemy) {human = false;}" rather then huge amounts of propaganda of enemy soldiers drinking blood and raping women and just standing around very menacingly in front of a black background.... but the principle holds

  • ...but the only way to be sure is to nuke the North from orbit.

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @08:30AM (#34485186)
    Defeat the ability of the 'autofocus Infra-Red sensor' and the weapon is rendered useless.
  • ... remote controlled. This turrets still require a human being for firing from a remote secure location. They can be connected by wire (ethernet) or wireless. Yes, i not only did RTFA, but also read the promotional poster of the weapon itself.
    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      This turrets still require a human being for firing from a remote secure location. Yes, i not only did RTFA, but also read the promotional poster of the weapon itself.

      Except you obviously missed the section labeled "Features" in which it says Autonomous Detection/Tracking/Targeting and Manual/Autonomous Firing with Safety

      • by pdhenry (671887)

        Except you obviously missed the section labeled "Features" in which it says Autonomous Detection/Tracking/Targeting and Manual/Autonomous Firing with Safety

        I'm not seeing that in the article or in the poster. The DODAAM website is slashdotted right now, but if it says that I'd be suspecting a bad translation. There's nothing in the feature set of this piece of hardware that supports automatic tracking or autonomous firing. Detecting a human size target at some distance only means the optics and camera has a certain minimum resolution.

        I've actually done some work on integrating a similar US-designed device onto a semi-autonomous vehicle, so I can read the D

        • by Nidi62 (1525137)
          I have the actual website up (I guess I got it before it was slashdotted) And not only does it mention what I have posted, it also says "Simple Switching to Manual Operation Mode" twice. So it would seem as if fully autonomous operation is the intended default mode
  • I just sent wave after wave of men until the killbots simply reached their kill limit of 999,999 then swept them off the floor.
  • It's just a matter of time til some asshole straps it to one of these:

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/10/12/1724211/Robots-Guarding-US-Nuclear-Stockpiles-In-Nevada [slashdot.org]

    and then flips the auto go button to see what happens. Robotic gun turret hitching a ride on a robotic hummer.

    Life is going to get real interesting where ever that thing is.

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