This spring, the US Army will deploy 18 new units of the Talon robotic fighter to Iraq
. The Talons will be put to work disarming bombs, surveying hostile territory and -- for the first time -- firing guns. Also under development is a model that acts as an unmanned ambulance, able to evacuate wounded soldiers under fire.
Looking more like science-fiction movie props than actual weapons of war, these tank-treaded robots are radio-controlled, allowing human operators greater flexibility in controlling them from a safe distance. The Talons have multiple cameras and infrared sensors, allowing them to function at any time of the day or night.
The US military currently has about 100 similar robots in use in Iraq and Afghanistan, used mostly for bomb disposal and surveying caves.