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Russia's "Avatar" Military Robot Development Update

Avatar robot © Photo: courtesy of DRF
© Photo: courtesy of DRF

News from TASS tells of a humanoid robot right out of the film Avatar. According to the agency, the Russian Advanced Research Foundation (ARF) have been postponed until later in 2016, but the implications of such a robot are the real news. 

ARF Deputy Director General Vitaly Davydov told TASS of the incompleted work on the amazing robot, as well as bringing to light several problems encountered in "training" the android-like machine. According to Davydov, the robot has not yet manuevered around a required obstacle course, as well completing some other tests. The robot, appropriately named "Avatar" is being subjected to even more rigourous tests than researchers orginally planned. "Avatar" is in the process of learning to drive, and has already learned to identifiy and differentiate roadway, roadside, road markings, and to bypass obstacles, accordding to the ARF deputy. 

The robot was first planned as a project for the Russian Emergencies Ministry, but later the designers decided that most of the rescue robot’s components could be used in the military sphere. The humanlike robot was demonstrated to Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2015, during his visit to the TSNIITOCHMASH Central Scientific - Research Institute for Precision Machine Engineering, a Russian industrial design bureau. Some readers may be unfamiliar, but the Russian Advanced Research Foundation (ARF) is actually Russia's answer to the United States' DARPA program, which is a US Department of Defense agency. 

2015 Kremlin photo of Vladimir Putin inspecting Avatar

The Russian agency is currently researching and developing sixth generation systems like; plasma weapons, augmented reality systems, stealth, and the highly publicized Armata tanks seen at the May 9th victory celebrations. The scientists there are also working on something termed "Army and Air Force New World Order" programs, as well as a new Moscow Class aircraft carrier (below). 

Leaked diagram of "Ulyanovsk" project 1143.7

As for "Avatar", RT reported on its capabilities, suggesting the robot would be able to run and cross obstacles by the end of the year. Supposedly designed to operate in “most dangerous conditions” and be remotely controlled, the "Avatar" platform is not apparently destined to weild a typical AK47 or other firearm. If the reports are reliable, the new robot soldier would seem more suitable for reconnesainse missions or for planting explosives or rescuing wounded comrades. The maching will use a “brain-computer” interface that allows the human brain to directly control over technology is complete and now is being prepared to be passed to governmental agencies. The interface is based on the application of the electric activity of the brain, detected by the means of electroencephalography, hence the association with "Avatar". the video below shows some of the capability revealed by Lieutenant General Andrey Grigoriev, head of the Advanced Research Foundation (ARF), via RIA Novosti last week. 


The Advanced Research Foundation was created in year 2012 as an analogue of the American Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which develops innovative projects in technology and science for the US Department of Defense. For the time being, ARF has 53 projects approved, and its laboratories are already working on 31 of them.