The US military is working on a new generation of soldiers, far different from the army it has.
"They don't get hungry," said Gordon Johnson of the Pentagon's Joint Forces Command. "They're not afraid. They don't forget their orders. They don't care if the guy next to them has just been shot. Will they do a better job than humans? Yes."
The robot soldier is coming.
The Pentagon predicts robots will be a major fighting force in the US military in less than a decade, hunting and killing enemies in combat. Robots are a crucial part of the army's effort to rebuild itself as a 21st century fighting force, and a $US127 million ($A161 billion) project called Future Combat Systems is the biggest military contract in US history.
The military plans to invest tens of billions of dollars in automated armed forces.
Robots in battle, as envisioned by their builders, may look and move like humans or hummingbirds, tractors or tanks, cockroaches or crickets. With the development of nanotechnology - the science of very small structures - they may become swarms of "smart dust". The Pentagon expects the robots to haul munitions, gather intelligence, search buildings or blow them up.