Australia has launched a multi-million dollar competition to build a new generation of military robots.
The winning design must help soldiers fight by remote control in urban combat zones, defence officials say.
The aim is to reduce casualties in urban areas where fighting is unpredictable and treacherous.
The competition is being run by Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation in partnership with the US military.
The government wants to develop an “intelligent and fully autonomous system” capable of carrying out dangerous surveillance missions.
Senior officials in Canberra have said they hope that unarmed robotic vehicles will do some of the army’s “dirty work” in such hazardous theatres.
The ultimate plan is for groups of these sophisticated machines to be sent into battle to help neutralise the enemy.