SEOUL (Reuters) - Armed, six-legged robots may one day work alongside man's best friend on the southern side of the Korean DMZ.
South Korea will spend 33.4 billion won over the next five years to develop the robots for the heavily fortified demilitarised zone that divides the peninsula, the Communications Ministry said in a statement Friday.
South Korea envisages the robots performing roles on the battlefield now done by dogs, such as sniffing for explosives and catching intruders, the ministry said.
The robots will stand knee-high to the average adult, mounted on wheels for road missions or on as many as eight legs to get them over uneven terrain, it said. Equipped with firearms, they will be able to carry out combat missions via remote control.
South Korea's Defense Ministry announced plans this month to reduce the number of its troops in uniform by about 25 percent over 15 years and develop more high-tech weapons systems.
North Korea maintains most of its 1.2-million-strong army near its border with the South. The two Koreas are technically still at war because the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice and not a peace treaty.