While these dummies on Segways may not look very intimidating, the U.S. Marine Corps is hoping they will provide more realistic training to soldiers as the first "smart targets" to be used by the U.S. military.
According to Gizmodo, these smart targets are "autonomous, programmable and responsive" and the Marine Corps base in Quanitco, Virginia, just received eight sets for $1.9 million, but several hundred robots could be delivered under the $50 million contract.
The 5'11'' smart target dummies ride along following a "pre-orchestrated or auto-generated scenario", meaning a commander doesn't need to control them with a joystick, according to their manufacturer Marathon Targets, which is based in Australia with an office in Huntsville, Ala. In addition to using Segways, other technology allows for a more realistic training experience. According to the website, the target is able to sense when it is shot, sending a message to other targets to run for cover and target's human-like nature allows "soldiers to train the way they fight."
Check out the robots in motion:
The dummies come in either a two-wheeled T20 or the four-wheeled T40, the latter of which Gizmodo reports is for off-road training. According to The Register, the U.S. Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program approved the targets for military use and we could soon be seeing it used in more than just Marine training:
"As a result of the FCT endorsement, Marathon Targets not only has a green light to sell its robots to the US Marine Corps but can also sell to other U.S. agencies with an interest in marksmanship training, including the military, special forces and law enforcement groups," Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner said.
Earlier this year, the target dummies were tested on the Marine Corps Base Quantico in a live fire training, clad in middle eastern clothing and dubbed Tali-bots in the press release.
Last year, the robot technology won an innovation award from Tech23. Watch the CEO of Marathon Targets explain more about the robots and their use:
Check out more videos of the targets here.
Update: This story has been updated since its original posting. The Blaze reported initially that the robot targets cost $57 million, when in fact this first delivery only cost $1.9 million. According to Marathon Targets, several hundred robots could be delivered in the coming years under the $50 million contract.