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US Army demos underground operations with autonomous robots

US Army demos underground operations with autonomous robots

Posted December. 31, 2021 09:41,   

Updated December. 31, 2021 09:41


It has been reported that the U.S. Army conducted a test earlier this month to deploy the ATE (Autonomous Tunnel Exploitation) robots that are being jointly developed by Seoul and Washington for subterranean reconnaissance patrol into the virtual enemy states. While the enemy states remain anonymous, some speculate that the test is aimed at North Korea as it is keeping its nuclear and biochemical weapons as well as the command facilities underground in a massive scale.

The U.S. Army announced Wednesday that it conducted a “demo” to deploy its multi-sensor ATE robots into the Missouri training ground. The military disclosed pictures of U.S. soldiers carrying out reconnaissance patrols underground in caterpillars and four-legged robots.

The U.S. Army explained that the robots can draw up 3D maps of the underground structures and making real-time reports on the existence of the weapons of mass destruction by using its nuclear and biochemical sensors. It added that the robot system has been under a joint development between the Pentagon’s DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) and the ADD (Agency for Defense Development) in Seoul since 2019.

“The enemies are increasingly using tunnels and underground facilities for the protection of troops and weapons and covert operations,” said an official from the U.S. Army. “The autonomous robot system will make huge contributions to protecting the soldiers deployed underground and offering a strategic advantage.” He added that their goal is to replace foot soldiers with autonomous robots for underground patrol missions in the future.

Pundits say that Seoul and Washington are taking a step to weaponized its autonomous robots in a bid to eliminate the storages of nuclear and biochemical weapons in the North and its command facility hidden underground under contingency. Since 2017, the U.S. Forces in Korea have been regularly conducting drills both in Korea and mainland America to occupy Pyongyang’s underground facilities. A military official from South Korea predicted that the use of cutting-edge technologies including autonomous robots will only increase to comb through the underground facilities near the demarcation line of the Korean Peninsula.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com