What could possibly go wrong?

The same week the latest movie in the Terminator franchise hit theatres, an Australian Defence Force publication ran photos of a prototype Ghost Robotics Vision 60 quadruped robot "supporting" Australian Army soldiers during an autonomous systems demonstration at the Majura Training Area, Canberra on November 8.

The Philadelphia-based Ghost Robotics recently posted a video of one of its quadrupeds being programmed to relentlessly track a human target (watch the short clip above).

Corporal Marcus Good demonstrates one of the army's an armoured combat tractor at Trentham Camp, Upper Hutt in June 2011. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Corporal Marcus Good demonstrates one of the army's an armoured combat tractor at Trentham Camp, Upper Hutt in June 2011. Photo / Mark Mitchell

It's enough to give Terminator fans the chills.

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But Ghost Robotics says its "multi-purpose sensor and recon bot" is about making the fighting or law enforcement safer.

The company said in a LinkedIn post earlier this month, "Not if, but when they'll enter service and be ready to take one for the team... keeping our soldiers and dogs out of harm's way."

This morning, the Australian said the Ghost Robotics trial tied in with AusTender documents lodged by the Defence Department, which "aims to integrate soldiers, robotics, artificial intelligence, sensors and data to boost frontline combat strike power"

"As China and other nations aggressively expand modern warfare technology, defence chiefs have adopted an 'accelerated' plan, focusing on Human Machine Teaming to combine robotic systems and soldier ­capacity to 'achieve tactical ­advantage'.

New Zealand is no slouch on the innovation front. The NZDF took delivery of six Combat Tractors in 2011.

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And its 2019 annual report notes, "The NZDF is developing defensive cyber capabilities to keep pace with the evolving threat to information security" and drones are also on the agenda.

But for now, robot soldiers don't seem to be on the agenda.

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