You may recall that earlier robots developed by Foster-Miller had some minor safety issues in Iraq last year that reportedly shook up confidence in the entire kill-bot program. That story turned out to be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was clear that a newer, safer design would have to be implemented to get things back on track. To that end, Foster-Miller has delivered the 350-pound MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System), which they emphasize as being "human operated."
The MAARS bot can be equipped with a 40mm grenade launcher or a M240B medium machine gun as well as a laser dazzler, loudspeaker, or pepper spray when killin' ain't in the cards. As far as safety is concerned, on-board software controls allow the robot's driver to select fire and no-fire zones and a mechanical range fan keeps MAARS' insatiable thirst for blood in check when it comes to friendly fire. Whether it wil be given permission to quench that thirst on the enemy remains to be seen. [Danger Room]