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Samsung Techwin SGR-A1 Sentry Guard Robot

In September 2006 it was reported that the ROK had developed a Robot Military Sentry. South Korean companies developed a sentry robot that can support troops along the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas and guard key military installations. The robot, developed by a group of firms led by Samsung Techwin Co., has the ability to detect, give warning and provide suppressive fire against intruders, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said. "The robot can stand guard continuously and could help cope with an expected decrease in military manpower in the coming years," said Lee Jae-hoon, head of the ministry's industrial policy office.

Unlike the border between the United States and Mexico or even that separating Israel from the territories, the 250 kilometer demilitarized zone between South and North Korea is patrolled along its entire length. On the ROK side, there is one guard post every 50 meters, two guards per post, and twelve shifts per day. With about 5,000 guard posts, in theory there are 120,000 man-years spent on guard duty each year.

The South Koreans have a series of defensive lines that cross the entire peninsula, but with the exception of the South Barrier Fence, they aren't connected completely across the peninsula. They are designed to withstand an attack and allow a minimum force to hold a line while reinforcement/counter attack forces are assembled and sent to destroy any penetrations. The Korea Barrier System (KBS) consists of tactical obstacles to support the defense of the Republic of Korea. It is an extensive, in depth, and integrated series of obstacles and barriers, including minefields, concertina wire, and dragon's teeth. The overwhelming majority of mine fields are in the General Outpost Line (GOPL) and the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) areas, which are not accessible to noncombatants.

After armistice negotiations began November 1951, the UN forces refrained from large offensive operations, allowing the war to enter its static phase. For the remainder of the war, American defensive positions were heavily fortified and much more elaborate, especially in mountainous areas. Main battle positions were often not based upon the strength of the terrain, but upon the location of the line of contact when armistice negotiations began.

Although, American doctrine and the Korean experience favored a defense in depth, the established defenses were actually a shallow linear defense. Terrain features were occupied across the entire front, and defensive positions could often be supported only by adjacent positions. The primary means of gaining depth was to place relatively strong outposts forward of the main line of resistance. The commander would establish a line of outposts - the general outpost line - on terrain forward of the main defense line to provide warning of the approach of the enemy. Such outposts constituted centers of resistance which provided mutual support for each other, served as patrol bases and limited enemy infiltration of the main defensive line. As the war dragged on, some of the bloodiest battles were fought over these seemingly inconsequential outposts.v There were a number of changes in US Army terminology under the 1961 Reorganization Objectives Army Division, commonly known as the ROAD division. The area where the main defensive effort would take place was called the "main battle area" before the Korean War, the "forward defensive area" after that war, and once again the "forward defensive area". The term "main line of resistance" completely disappeared, and the term "forward edge of the battle area," or FEBA, was retained. The "reconnaissance and security line," a term which had endured from the late 1940s through the 1950s, became the "general outpost" and "combat outpost" lines.

A surveillance system recognizes an object by processing an image received from a camera installed in a specific place or a mobile camera and monitors a specific region. Surveillance systems may be applied to any security system using images, such as intelligent surveillance and monitoring robots, General Out Post (GOP) scientific systems, social security robot systems, etc.

A surveillance system may be installed in a specific surveillance region to monitor the specific surveillance region. Thus, when detecting a specific object in the surveillance region, the surveillance system may track the specific object. When detecting a plurality of moving objects in the surveillance region, the surveillance system can attempt to track a first moving object that enters the surveillance region before anything else.

Therefore, even if other moving objects are detected, the surveillance system keeps tracking the first moving object as long as a user does not provide any special command. Thus, when an intruder inserts a moving object, such as a wireless control car, into the surveillance region before entering the surveillance region, the surveillance system only tracks the wireless control car. As a result, even if a person or other moving object with higher risk is detected, the surveillance system cannot take any measures to track that person or object.

The SGR-A1 robot is developed jointly by the Korea University and Samsung Techwin Co. The SGR-A1 has a CCD and an infra-red camera allowing it to detect and track targets at ranges of up to 4Km during the day and 2Km during nighttime. The SGR-A1 robot uses a low-lightcamera and pattern recognition software to distinguish humans from animals or other objects.

At one time Samsung claimed on their website that the SRG-A1 "has the purpose of protecting the major military base and national strategic site. The system is designed to replace human-oriented guards, overcoming their limitation of discontinuous guarding mission due to its severe weather condition or fatigue, so that the perfect guarding operation is guaranteed."

"The Intelligent Surveillance and Guard Robot is unique because it is the first of its kind to have surveillance, tracking, firing and voice-recognition systems built into a single unit," the deputy minister said. The robot, which weighs 117 kilograms and stands 1.2 meters high, can also provide suppressive fire with a K-3 light machine gun.

The system uses its voice recognition to identify approaching persons. If the intruder is unable to provide the necessary access code when at a distance of ten meters, the Samsung SGR-A1 can either sound an alarm, fire rubber bullets or make use of its Daewoo K3 5,56mm machine gun.

For use on the DMZ, the sentry bot doesn't need to distinguish friend from foe. When someone crosses the line, they are automatically an enemy. The robot can verbally command an enemy to surrender. It can understand the soldier's arms held high to indicate surrender, and then not fire. Normally the ultimate decision about shooting would be made by a human, not the robot. But the robot does have an automatic mode, in which it can make the decision.

The SGR-A1 "robot" is really more of a Remotely-operated Weapons System (RWS), like Recon/Optical's CROWS, Kongsberg's Protector, Thales' SWARM, BAE's LEMUR, and larger versions like RAFAEL's RCWS-30 and Elbit's ORCWS -- all of which are mounted on crew-served vehicles. The SGR-A1 is a stationary system, enabling its designers to ignore the power, communications, and traction issues which tend to plague its mobile counterparts. Samsung boasts that its Intelligent Surveillance and Security Guard Robot never gets fatigued and are unaffected by severe weather, so "the perfect guarding operation is guaranteed."

The government began the three-year project in December 2003 at an investment of 9.8 billion won (US$1.03 billion). The Intelligent Surveillance and Guard Robot was developed by a group of four institutions lead by Samsung Techwin Co. and Korea University over three years at a cost of some $10 million in government and private funds. The South Korean government was considering plans to buy 1000 of these robots. The price tag was estimated at the US $80,000 to $200,000 range. Early in 2006, the company produced two prototypes of a model intended for civilian use, mainly in border security, with testing completed in October 2006.

In May 2008 the military was reviewing whether or not to implement the establishment of an unmanned electronic border security system. The move came as a year-long pilot run had shown that the systems were "unfit for combat."

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