Wounded U.S. troops to be evacuated by ... robot teddy bear

Oh, this ain’t your daddy’s robot teddy bear.

A remote-controlled robot that will rescue injured or abducted soldiers, without putting the lives of their comrades at risk, is being developed for the US army. The 1.8-metre-tall Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (Bear) will be able to travel over bumpy terrain and squeeze through doorways while carrying an injured soldier in its arms.

The prototype Bear torso can lift more than 135 kilograms with one arm, and its developer, Vecna Technologies of College Park, Maryland, is now focusing on improving its two-legged lower body. The robot recently showed how it can climb up and down stairs with a human-size dummy in its arms…

The robot can also carry an injured soldier while kneeling or lying down, enabling it to move through tall grass or behind a wall without being spotted…

The robot’s humanoid body and teddy bear-style head give it a friendly appearance. “A really important thing when you’re dealing with casualties is trying to maintain that human touch,” says Gary Gilbert of the US army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center in Frederick, Maryland, which provided the initial funding for Bear’s development. Congress has since added a further $1.1 million.

Obviously they’ll have to arm him with a “Predator”-esque shoulder-mounted laser cannon so that jihadis reduced to laughter at the sight of Teddy Ruxpin rolling onto the battlefield can be dealt with in the appropriate manner.

Exit question: U.S. troops being the bad-asses that they are, they’re going to end up painting his head to look like a flaming skull or something from an Iron Maiden album cover, aren’t they?