Libyan Rebels Debut Machine Gun-Firing Robot
CREDIT: Al Jazeera
The long, grinding conflict between the military of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and rebel forces has seen its first machine gun-toting robot appear on the side of the rebels. Libyan rebel engineers built the remotely-operated vehicle from a child's toy car, and so added a taste of the Terminator to a conflict that has more resembled the post-apocalyptic chaos of Mad Max.
The robotic conscript appears firing its machine gun in a video captured by Al Jazeera and pointed out by Jalopnik. Its mere presence attests to some of the ingenuity of rebel fighters who have cobbled together many improvised weapons in their makeshift weapons shops with the help of former bus drivers, technicians and engineering students.
But the scrappy DIY attitude can only go so far when lacking the resources of U.S. companies that make robots for civilian bomb squads or the U.S. military. The rebel robot or its machine gun does not seem to have wireless capability, so that an operator could only control the vehicle or its weapon through an attached power cord.
Another person also had to stand by the robot to hand-feed the machine gun belt into the gun, which makes the robot seem little less than a glorified weapon carrier. Still, that's not to say that rebel engineers can't make improvements.
The rebel DIY shops have also created a pickup truck that carries a rooftop machine gun fired by remote control. The driver or operator can remain inside the vehicle and view the machine gun's sight through a small ceiling-mounted video screen.
Libyan rebels have already received help from mature robotic warriors since the U.S. began Predator drone airstrikes in April, according to Reuters. The added robotic reinforcements and firepower may not turn the tide by themselves, but they do represent part of the mounting pressure on Gadhafi that began with ongoing NATO airstrikes more than two months ago.
This story was provided by InnovationNewsDaily, a sister site to TechNewsDaily. You can follow InnovationNewsDaily senior writer Jeremy Hsu on Twitter @ScienceHsu. Follow InnovationNewsDaily on Twitter @News_Innovation, or on Facebook.