Inventors of a US military robot that powers itself by devouring everything in its path are trying to quash publicity that it will feed on human or animal flesh.

The Guardian says that the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot ploughs through trees, grass and even, according to reports, dead bodies.

Headlines have labelled the machine a "corpse eater" and "creepy". The machine's inventors say that it does power its engine by digesting organic material.

"We completely understand the public's concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission," said Harry Schoell, the chief executive of Cyclone Power Technologies, one of the companies behind the machine. "We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter."