A new robot is heading to Iraq this spring which can accurately pinpoint the location of a gun being fired within seconds.
Robot Enhanced Detection Outpost with Lasers (RedOwl) uses sound sensors originally developed for hearing aids, advanced video sensors and neural network programming to back-trace shots to their source.
The device can then direct fire from troops to neutralise the threat.
"The RedOwl equipped PackBot has been field tested for the Army's Rapid Equipping Force at a rifle and trapshooting range," said a spokesman from the Photonics Center.
"Of the more than 150 rounds fired from 9mm pistols, M-16 and AK-47 rifles from over 100 metres, the RedOwl system equipped with an acoustic direction finding unit from BioMimetic Systems located the source of the gunfire successfully 94 per cent of the time."
It is hoped that RedOwl will reduce friendly fire casualties among troops and Iraqi civilians, some 500,000 of whom have perished since Saddam Hussein was ousted, according to some counts.
It also sponsors the Darpa automated vehicle races with the aim of making a third of all Army transport automated by the middle of the century.
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