The U.S. military is shooting robots to make better Marines

The robots can take thousands of bullets and keep on going

They're not the kind of thing you might expect to see on a battlefield, but a four-wheeled robot recently tested by the U.S. Marines could help make better soldiers.

The robots are a replacement for the paper targets typically used on military firing ranges and will trundle out from behind walls and buildings to provide a more realistic training environment.

They look a little goofy -- something like the upper half of a mannequin grafted onto a piece of construction machinery -- but they're more than that.

160218 m vz998 435 John Baker/DOD

Autonomous Robotic Human Type Targets make their way off of a firing range Feb. 18, 2016, at Camp Pendleton, California.

The robots use a GPS guidance system and laser-based obstacle avoidance system that can sense objects up to 25 meters away. The robots can be remotely controlled by an operator from a laptop and will even send back data on when and where they were hit by bullets.

Marines from the 1st Marine Division tested them out recently at Camp Pendleton in California and the initial response was good.

The Department of Defense released video of the exercise, showing Marines shooting at the targets. The targets indicated when they had been hit by the upper body portion falling at an angle.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the robots is their endurance. The manufacturer says each robot can be shot thousands of times while still maintaining its structure.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?