Killer Robots A Catalog of Autonomous Killing Machines compiled for ICRAC

x 47 b on the deck of the aircraft carrier Goerge Bush III source

The Emergence of Killer Robots

Introducing the latest arms race

Societal norms change over time. It’s the nature of human psychology of wanting to advance. This linear effort is what effects new laws, new technologies, and newfound perceptions with old ideologies as an outlook geared toward the future. It wasn't long ago when Henry Ford successfully mass-produced vehicles that didn't limit people to a specific region. It wasn't long ago when the Wright Brothers successfully took flight and humanity was no longer limited to land travel. It's with great certainty that a manufactured military is forth coming and the precursors have arrived.

BAE Systems Taranis taxiing at BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire. source


The idea of a killer robot sounds like fantastic. When that context is put together, we all perceive the terminator eliminating people with little to no discretion for human life. It's the ultimate snafu and situation we're in as a country. The US is the greatest super power to have ever existed and we're a representative example to other countries around the world on how to be civilized and how we should govern. We need to be the leaders and yet we're in an arms race . . . . With ourselves.


From "in-the-loop" to "on-the-loop" to "out-of-the-loop"

The Phalanx CIWS is the first precursor to autonomous weapons. Developed by General Dynamics and later purchased by Raytheon, it is the first close in weapon system developed for US Navy ships to protect against anti-ship missiles and enemy aircraft. It can independently detect, track and engage with sophisticated sensors and radar data by using an M-61A1 Gatling Gun that has a firing rate of 4,500 rounds per min and a magazine capacity of 1,550 rounds using 20 mm Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot with a range of one mile. It’s still in production and action today and signified a changing tide of simplifying warfare. We as humans have an un- idealistic trust in technology to be accurate, but we’re prone to mistakes because we’re human. As a result, we delegate due to that idea of perfection and put ourselves in future construct of uncertainty, We can see how autonomy transformed the product manufacturing side of business and see its potential in other areas. That analogy cannot apply. .

X 47B img by alan wilson


There is a reason why guns have a safty

We can’t leave robots at the helm making life and death decisions if we can’t accurately say it can distinguish between enemy and civilians. We can’t say to a certainty that it’ll take the International Humanitarian Law into account. Moreover, the idea of accountability seems mystifying if we can’t identify who’s to blame for malfunctioning robots. Whether it’s the programmer, manufacturer or the robot. The most coveted point of all, killer robots allows for governments to use violence in such ease because the life of their soldier is not in direct conflict. Unless we regulate now, humans will no longer be kept in the loop of ethical, legal, and military concerns of killer robots. We need to regulate now before it’s too late.

An armed MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft sits in a shelter Oct. 15 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, before a mission. source

The Catalog


Phalanx USA US Navy General Dynamics / Raytheon $5,600,000 Missile & aircraft defence system source
C RAM USA US Army General Dynamics / Raytheon $6,900,000 Rocket, artillery and mortar shell defense system source
Iron Dome Israel IDF ETLA Systems $1,000,000 Missile defense system source
SGR A1 South Korea Repubic of Korea Army Samsung $200,000 Semi-autonomous anti-personnel weapon source
Sentry Tech Israel IDF Rafael Advanced Defense System --- Semi-autonomous anti-personnel weapon ---
Gaurdium Israel IDF G-NIUS Unmanned Ground Systems $600,000 Autonomous Ground Vehicle (UGV) source
X47-B USA DARPA / US Navy Northrop Grumman $160,000,000 Unmanned Combat Ariel Vehicle (UCAV) source
Taranis UK --- BAE £143,000,000 Unmanned Combat Ariel Vehicle (UCAV) source
Harpy Israel IDF IAI --- Unmanned Combat Ariel Vehicle (UCAV) source
Swarms US US Navy --- --- Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) source

In Use

DRDO Daksh India Indian Army Research and Development Establishment 1.80 crore INR Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) source
Packbot US sold internationally iRobot $588,477 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) source
MARCbot US --- Applied Geo Technologies $10,000 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) source
MQ-1 Predator US Primarily US General Atomics $4,030,000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) source
MQ-9 Reaper (Predator B) US US, UK, Aeronautica Militare General Atomics $16,9000,000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) source
Foster-Miller TALON US US Army, US National Guard Foster Miller $60,000 (unarmed) small armed remote control robot source
Gladiator US --- BAE Systems North America --- Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle (TUGV) source
Dragon Runner US US, UK QinetiQ North America $46,000 Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) source
MATILDA US --- Mesa Robotics Inc $25,000 base price remote controlled robotic micro tank source
XM1216 SUGV US US Army iRobot COST Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) source
iRobot Warrior US --- iRobot --- Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) source

Under Development

WEAPON ORIGIN Developed for DEVELOPER COST short description
Ripsaw MS1 US US Army Howe and Howe Technologies $250,000 UGV large-format tracked tactical robot source
SYRANO France --- GIAT, Sagem and CAP Gemini --- Battlefield Robot source
Dassault nEUROn France, Sweden, Greece, Spain, Italy --- Dassault Aviation wiki
SAAB AB wiki face
EAB wiki
RUAG Aerospace wiki
Alenia Aermacchi wiki
€25,000,000 Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) source
PETMAN US DARPA Boston Dynamics $26,300,000 anthropomorphic robot source
Altas US DARPA Boston Dynamics --- anthropomorphic robot source
BigDog US DARPA Boston Dynamics / Foster Miller --- Advanced Rough-Terrain Robot source
LRASM US US Navy Lockheed Martin --- Navy Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) source

About the Catalog

Killer Robots might not look like Killer Robots

The autonomous machines in this catalog all look different and operate in different environments. Some fly, some walk, some roll. Some have lethal capabilities, some don’t. The feature that they all have in common is that they are all capable of making at least some decision on their own. This catalog is by no means complete. Every day new automated weapons systems are introduced to the world arsenal. These systems each have a varying degrees of autonomy. The trend is towards greater and greater autonomy. Some automated machines such as the LS3 are designed for logistical support. But many of these autonomous machines will have leatal capability. Many already have the ability to choose targets and make kill decisions on their own.

DARPA’s semiautonomous Legged Squad Support System -- also known as the LS3 source


Thanks to Peter Asaro [Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Programs School of Media Studies at The New School] this web site was produced for ICRAC by students [Jeremiha Toro, Linson Bailey and Alan Wilson].

The CAMPAIGN TO STOP KILLER ROBOTS is an association of organizations including ICRAC.

The Who We Are page of CAMPAIGN TO STOP KILLER ROBOTS blog provides complete list of organizations that are under the umberella of the CAMPAIGN TO STOP KILLER ROBOTS.

Sideview of Chinese UCAV "Sharp Sword". 中文: 中国利剑无人攻击机侧视图。source