As the first ever "combat robot," the Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle helps U.S. Marines accomplish missions in difficult environments.
Armed and Dangerous
The Gladiator is different from other unmanned ground vehicles because it is armed. Most unmanned vehicles, or robots, are used for surveillance purposes. The Gladiator is armed with a M240 machine gun that fires 7.62 millimeter bullets.
The robot is outfitted with a remotely operated weapons system that allows it to carry and operate a number of weapons in addition to the M240 machine gun. Other weapons that can be used with the Gladiator include a 9 millimeter submachine gun and a grenade launcher.
While it is known as the world’s first "combat robot," the Gladiator serves a variety of functions. In addition to combat, the tactical unmanned ground vehicle is used for surveillance, reconnaissance and to remove obstacles in roads, fields and buildings.
The U.S. military has stated that the Gladiator will be used for a wide range of missions, and will perform the job of a soldier without risking a person’s life. Missions the robots could be deployed for include search and recovery, clearing mine fields, and locating enemy positions. The versatility of the Gladiator has made it a popular piece of equipment among U.S. Marines.
Design and Deployment
The Gladiator was designed by Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics lab and commercialized by Lockheed Martin Corp’s Missiles and Fire Control division. About 200 of the robots were delivered to the U.S. Marines beginning in 2007. The Gladiator was designed to be tough and rugged. It is able to operate at day or night and across all terrain.
The robot uses thermal imaging to navigate its way around different environments. It is operated by Marines remotely using computers. The U.S. Marine Corps has stated that it plans to use the Gladiator in a number of combat zones around the world, and that the robots will be used with Marines in the most dangerous environments.