Robot wars ‘will be a reality within 10 years’

The world is sleepwalking into an international robot arms race, a leading expert will warn today.

  The Foster-Miller Armed TALON Robot, used by the US army
US forces recently deployed remote-controlled robots equipped with automatic weapons in Iraq

Prof Noel Sharkey fears increased research and spending on unmanned military systems by countries including the US, Russia, China and Israel will lead to the use of autonomous battlefield robots that can decide when to kill within a decade.

In a keynote speech he will also predict it is only a matter of time before robots become a standard terrorist weapon to replace suicide bombers.

Prof Sharkey, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Computer Science, is best known as a judge in the BBC television series Robot Wars.

He will outline his fears in a speech at a conference on the ethics of unmanned military systems at the Royal United Services Institute, a respected defence think tank.

Prof Sharkey said yesterday: “There’s a massive drive towards developing autonomous robots for more complex missions.

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