Finally: Robotic Cars That Fire Guns (But Only in Iraq … For Now)

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Mosul is the largest population center in northern Iraq, but it has been in ISIS hands since extremist militants overran the city of 2.5 million in June of 2014.

Taking the city back has proven a challenge, but the Iraqi Army, backed by Allied forces, plans to deploy a new tool to make it happen. It’s no longer than a Mazda MX-5, and not nearly as sexy, but Iraq thinks this four-wheeled robotic death car gives them a big advantage.

According to Defence One (via Autoblog Military), the remote control car — which looks like a mini Stryker or LAV3, minus the extra wheels — is being prepped for battle. Iraqi forces are inching closer to Mosul, and the build-up to retake the city has been ongoing for months. The vehicle was first reported on by the Baghdad Post.

Looming atop the vehicle, dubbed “Alrobot” (Arabic for “robot”), is a turret containing what looks to be a .50-caliber heavy machine gun flanked by Russian Katyusha rockets (which date to the Second World War).

Controlled via a laptop and radio link, the vehicle would allow Iraqi forces to stay out of range of ISIS munitions (and booby traps) while Alrobot softens up targets. There’s a reconnaissance element to the vehicle, as well, as it contains four cameras.

We don’t know how the vehicle is powered, or what components were used to build it. Reportedly, “two brothers” were responsible for the vehicle’s construction. Defense One claims this is the first robot to fire a weapon in Iraq, bringing us ever nearer to a Robocop-style future.

A video uploaded to YouTube by Media War team2 shows Alrobot undergoing battle testing:

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
8 of 21 comments
  • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Aug 23, 2016

    Sandbox is such a flexible term.

  • Cdotson Cdotson on Aug 23, 2016

    I'd say I hate to be pedantic but truthfully I don't. This sounds like a vehicle that is operated by a human operator staring at a computer screen instead of a driver looking through a windshield. As such, it's a remotely-operated vehicle. This is not a robot. It wouldn't have to be fully autonomous; programming a series of instructions to be followed blind without having any on-board decision-making ability would qualify it as a robot. Requiring operator's instructions via wifi makes it not a robot.

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Aug 24, 2016

      cdotson - agreed. This is like a Predator drone but on wheels.

  • John John on Aug 23, 2016

    Mosul used to be under a sectarian government..... 15 years ago.

    • See 2 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Aug 24, 2016

      @28-Cars-Later Some theorize that Iraq Version Dubya was for the most part to destabilize the region and open up the oil fields to "big Oil" since most oil reserves are or were government controlled (read socialist). Finding WMD and kicking out a despot "freeing" the people is a farce. The USA does not care who runs a country or what happens to its people as long ans the government is pro-Western Industry. The strategy of destabilizing governments and putting in puppets hasn't had a very good long term success record for the USA. They did that in Iran with the Shah of Iran and we know what came of that misadventure. USA policy in Somalia and Yemen hasn't done much for controlling Al Qaeda and Muslim Extremism. Their meddling has actually made the problem worse. The mess made in Iraq provided fertile conditions for the spawning of ISIS/ISIL.

  • Walleyeman57 Walleyeman57 on Aug 23, 2016

    I enjoy futuristic movies-like Terminator. I always thought the killer robots were just wild Hollywood ideas. Coming soon to a war zone near you.... Maybe not the full fledged flesh over metal, but killing machines none the less. In the air, sea, and now land- machines get ever more complex and efficient at killing. With ISIS demonstrating how ruthless they can be, it was only a matter of time until whole armies of machines are deployed. It is only a small step until they are just pre-programmed to kill everyone. No questions asked.