Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Election 2020: Live Results | Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice

Marines Test Human-Like Robots In Live Firing Training

Photo by Cpl. John Baker / Marine Corps

Human-like robots called Autonomous Robotic Human Type Targets make their way off of a firing range at Camp Pendleton, Feb. 18, 2016.

The wig-wearing, human-looking robots being used by Camp Pendleton Marines are guided by GPS and move around on two wheels at a speed of 8 mph.

Marines at Camp Pendleton are testing new robots to help prepare them for work in the battlefield. The wig-wearing, human-looking robots are guided by GPS and move around on two wheels at a speed as high as 8 mph.

The Autonomous Robotic Human Type Targets, brought to Camp Pendleton by Australian contractors, can sustain thousands of gunshots, allowing Marines to enhance their live firing training.

The robots are programmed to be unpredictable and erratic, speeding up, slowing down and swerving just like real combatants might behave, said combat instructor Cpl. Aleksandr Bulymba in a Defense Department video.

“It’s a lot more realistic,” Bulymba said. “They play different scenarios for us, such as hostage scenarios, and we just practice our marksmanship on moving targets.”

The robots can also be programmed to respond to each other when they’re hit, or converge and move toward Marines in an offensive response.

Marines currently train with paper and steel targets that are mostly stationary or on a guided track, making them easily predictable.

The Marine Corps is thoroughly testing the robots before moving to use the technology in regular combat training.

Camp Pendleton Marines Test Human-Like Robots In Live Firing Training


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.