There are a growing number of companies in the United States fighting for lucrative government contracts focused on disaster recovery. The Pentagon is hosting a multi-million-dollar competition that will have robots compete in a rigorous series of tests to gauge how developed this technology is at its current level.
"We don't know what the next disaster will be, but we know we have to develop the technology to help us address these kinds of disasters," said Gill Pratt, program manager at DARPA, when speaking with reporters.
Even though DARPA - and governments across the world - are developing robots that could be deployed for disaster recovery, there is some concern that autonomous robots could be used for rather devious purposes.
We want to talk to the governments about how [the robots] function and understand the human control of the targeting and attack decisions," said Mary Wareham, coordinator for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots group, in a statement published by the Washington Post. "We want assurances that a human is in the loop."