Russia’s Cyber Cosmonaut, FEDOR has been taught to dual wield pistols. It is not clear quite how a space robot would benefit from this particular skill. Perhaps it is to help FEDOR fight off any Nazis hiding on the moon?
FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) is being developed by Android Technics in partnership with the Advanced Research fund. Before he mastered pistols FEDOR has already acquired an impressive array of skills. The humanoid robot can drive a car, knows hot to put out a fire, open a lock, repair microchips and a whole host of other complex tasks. Even if he looks a little ungainly doing so.
FEDOR is set to go into space in 2021 and is slated to be the first pilot of Russia’s next generation super-heavy launch vehicle, “Federation”. Once he is in space FEDOR is expected to assist human astronauts in carrying out their duties. There is also a plan for FEDOR to participate in lunar landing missions. Russia hopes that he will be the first robot to literally set foot on the moon.
Russia’s deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, has tweeted a photo of FEDOR in action, followed by a video demonstrating the robots duel wielding skills. While the video and photograph look more than a little intimidating, Mr Rogozin gone out of his way to assure the world that Russia is not teaching FEDOR action movie combat skills to develop a terminator but for the good of science. Apparently, FEDOR has been taught to dual wield pistols in order to perfect his target prioritization and decision making skills. So, no need to worry then?
Sadly, the footage of FEDOR is a visceral reminder of the fact that robots are being developed for less benign purposes than scientific advancement. Even if it is unlikely that we will see FEDOR or his descendants on the front lines, most countries are exploring the potential combat roles that robots and artificial intelligence could play in future conflicts.
All gun play aside, FEDOR could well set a trend for the future. Autonomous and unmanned vehicles are already used for exploring hostile terrain here on earth and robots will be able to undertake tasks that would be too dangerous, difficult or expensive for a human to perform.
I for one am looking forward to seeing what FEDOR can do to help us explore space. Although I do hope he leaves his pistols back on Earth.