Several robotics companies around the world, including Boston Dynamics, which created the Spot “robot dog” and has been working on the bipedal Atlas robot for years, have signed an agreement promising not to create weapon-equipped war robots. This agreement was made because they would bring “new risks and ethical issues” to the robot business, but there are many other competing companies that are not participating in this agreement.
Several robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics, oppose gun-equipped robots
Boston Dynamics is only the most well-known company of its kind to the general public, famous for its videos of robot development from its days as a Google subsidiary. In the meantime, the American company has been acquired by Hyundai, probably also because it has recently started developing robots that are very useful in industries such as manufacturing and logistics.
Among the companies promising not to create autonomous or remote-controllable robots equipped with weapons are Agility Robotics, ANYbotics, Clearpath Robotics, Open robotics and Unitree Robotics. Other companies such as Ghost Robotics, which has a “robot dog” similar to Spot, which it also showed equipped with a gun on its back and various other sensors that could be used in combat, have not signed the agreement.
Of course, the agreement will not stop state military agencies or local law enforcement from buying these companies’ robots and modifying them for use in combat. The companies only object to such use cases and promise not to develop the technologies necessary to turn their creations into weapons that could result in the injury or death of others.
The Spot robot is made primarily for emergency situations, monitoring areas or accessing environments where people could be put in danger.