Although drones have been used to attack targets from the sky, the US military are now exploring the possibilty of employing ground robots capable of firing machine guns.

Last weekend, four companies tested robots armed with guns that can shoot at targets up to 500 feet away. Also present at the test, which took place at Fort Benning, Ga.,  were senior army officers.

US Military Test Robot Firing A Machine Gun

Curently land robots are used by the military mainly as bomb disposers. The robot used in these latest tests is named Protector and has been used before to carry out tasks such as clearing paths, digging defensive positions and carrying equipment for the infantry, travelling at a maximum speed of 5mph.

However, Protector had a whole new role when loaded with a machine gun. The robot can be remotely operated from a distance of up to 3,300 feet and is able to fire ammunition 5,900 feet away according to Popular Science.

The military are increasingly using robots, with an expert commenting to Computerworld that he thinks robots will soon outnumber humans by ten to one.

At the moment the most advanced robot soldiers are only semi-autonomous but experts feel that it won’t be too long before we see robots going into battle rather than humans.

[Image via mashable]