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AI Case Study

Hanwha Aerospace supply Korean military with SGR-A1 autonomous sentry gun to protect their border with North Korea

Hanwha Aerospace (formerly Samsung Techwin) have supplied the Republic of Korean military with the SGR-A1 autonomous sentry gun to protect their border with North Korea. The aim is to reduce the potential casualties to and increase the firepower from the national defences in the event of an attack.


Public And Social Sector


Project Overview

According to Wikipedia: "The Samsung SGR-A1 project started with an initial investment by the South Korean government in 2003 and was developed by four institutions led primarily by Hanwha Techwin and Korea University. With prototypes produced in 2006, the system was designed to replace human-oriented guarding along the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and to provide the 'perfect guard operation'. The primary goal of the project, as quoted by Shin Hyun-don from the South Korean defense ministry 'is to transform the current guard and observation mission on fronts conducted by soldiers into a robot system'.
The system, costing approximately $200,000 (227 million won), includes an uncooled infrared thermographic camera for detection, a weapons interface that allows for mounted weapons, and a combination of an IR illuminator and a laser rangefinder to track and follow targets. It also includes a digital video recorder which captures footage for up to 60 days and three other cameras used separately for surveillance, tracking and zoom.
The Samsung SGR-A1 presumes any person entering the DMZ is an enemy and, upon detection, will attempt to identify the target through voice recognition. If a proper access code is not provided within a short amount of time, the system can choose between sounding an alarm, firing rubber bullets or engaging the target with other weapons. The system can also be overridden by an operator, who can also communicate via built-in microphone and audio system."

Reported Results

Thankfully never deployed in a combat situation. Has helped trigger considerable debate about the proper use of unmanned military technology.






The 250 kilometres of the DMZ with North Korea is heavily patrolled and is probably the most militarised border in the world. South Korea has substantially fewer military personnel than North Korea, which will have have influenced the South Korean's decision to invest in autonomous robot guns.



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