A Ukrainian private technology company has developed a semi-autonomous gun turret that can track and identify targets independently with Artificial Intelligence-based technology.
Reports from the country have called it a ‘Terminator-style’ weapon, given its automated features that can track, engage, and move in the direction of the objects they are seeing.
Whether the gun system has been developed upon a specific request of the Ukrainian military or is an in-house invention of the devDroid company is unclear. However, the presence of the National Guard during the testing indicates that the government has a significant role to play.
It also suggests that the gun might be tested on the frontlines in the ongoing war, possibly for developmental and experimental purposes, if not for fully operational roles. Moreover, if the Ukrainian military intends it and manages to revive some of its defense industrial base, a version of the AI-enabled mount might be built for other larger gun systems.
The Ukrainian National Guard recently conducted “trials of a remote-controlled turret that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance its combat capabilities.”
The weapon system is designed for rapid and precise detection and elimination of enemy combatants through artificial intelligence. Additionally, the combat module can protect key positions from First Person View (FPV) and reconnaissance drones, cover personnel, and divert enemy fire.
“Our company’s mission is to save our soldiers’ lives and teach turrets to kill Russian soldiers on Ukrainian soil without human involvement,” explained Yuriy Poritskiy, the owner of devDroid. The remote-controlled turret has strong Terminator vibes, and it can autonomously seek, detect, and track targets using AI algorithms.
The new remote-controlled turret independently recognizes enemy combatants, calculates the distance to the target, tracks moving targets, and computes ballistic parameters. “The operator only needs to issue the command, and the turret opens fire accordingly,” the report said.
This means the gun camera feed marks targets as friendly or hostile and keeps the gun moving and trained on their movement, with the operator only having to give the command to fire. “This innovative use of AI marks a significant advancement in autonomous military technology,” added the report.
There are several unanswered questions, however. Whether this means the operator has to disengage the firing command himself or the gun does that automatically, can the operator be located remotely himself or has to be physically present at the console to intervene in its operation manually; does the gun control system have a data bank of images of enemy systems, like a target identification technology, that needs to be updated; what is the total weight the gun control mount can carry, and can the guns be larger and heavier than the ones shown in the video?
These technical specifications will be precise when more details become available about the system. The Ukrainian military and government must also address industrial issues like firming up a supply chain to meet series mass production and whether devDroid would need an industry partner.
The devDroid company conducted tests of the THP combat module together with the National Guard of Ukraine
During the tests, the remotely controlled turret successfully hit targets at a distance of 500 meters. pic.twitter.com/YI0KUPFYNf
— Ukraine News 🇺🇦 (@Ukrainene) October 25, 2023
The video shows the system in action, suggesting it is a highly stabilized gun control system. It is mounted on three pairs of six legs, each with its retractable pneumatic cylinder going in and out.
The gun can be dexterously turned in multiple directions. The camera feed from the electro-optical system shows the people being tracked as ‘targets’ are marked in red and blue boxes, suggesting they are being identified as friendly or hostile.
However, as mentioned above, the principle behind the target identification and tracking system is unclear.
It is also shown on the back of a ruggedized All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) pulling tight turns on a dirt road, indicating the gun has superb stabilizing capabilities in off-road conditions.