In Star Wars, a battle droid (also referred to as war droid or killer droid) was any droid designed for combat.
There were numerous types of battle droids. Many of the best known battle droids were those used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems (see image above) during the Clone Wars and the Galactic Empire/Imperial Remnant after the Clone Wars. Other battle droids, in the films, are similar to walkers or tanks that are operated by the AI inside the robots, not a external humanoid.
At the end of the Clone Wars, Sith Lord Darth Vader turned off the Master control signal, deactivating the entire Separatist Droid Army. After this, battle droids became extremely rare.
In real-life, a robot-maker named Foster-Miller attached machine guns onto three bomb-disposal bots and sent them overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. These robots were the first armed robots to be placed in a war zone, although no shots have been fired by the robots during combat yet. At this point, weaponized robots are a new technology that is still in the developmental.
Foster-Miller has plans to ship the Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System (MAARS), which is an armed robot that has Transformer-like abilities
It has the ability to be changed from one mission setup to another very quickly. The operators of the robots can modify its treads, drive system, weaponry, and even its dimensions. The robots do not have a mind of their own; however, a soldier can command the bot through a video-and-map-enabled remote control to make the robot to begin shooting.
Within about 10 years, robots will probably be fighting alongside infantry soldiers.
DARPA, the military’s experimental research agency, is also trying to develop a translation machine with 98 percent accuracy in 20 different languages similar to C-3PO in Star Wars. They are developing what they called the Robust Automatic Translation of Speech (RATS) program to streamline the translation process.
U.S. Army engineers have completed testing a 20-ton Stryker robotic tank that is intended to be used as an unmanned escort. It can follow a manned vehicle without the use of a GPS at 22 mph on average and go as fast as 40 on straightaways. It relies on the data from the lead vehicles and from its own sensors to navigate itself. It can also detect obstacles that were placed by the leading vehicle and avoid them entirely. At this point in time, soldiers will remain in the vehicles; however, eventually they will be used for transporting reinforcements in war zones.
Twin brothers, Geoff and Mike Howe from Barwick, Maine, have created the Ripsaw, an cheap unmanned ground vehicle that has a high speed of over 60 mph (matching the full speeds of Humvees and other military truck convoys). Each track can be replaced should it be damaged from the marks of war. It can carry a payload of up to 2,000 pounds. It is operated from another vehicle using a modular crew station that placed in a range of Army different vehicles. The unarmored Ripsaw is worth about $1 million dollars.
Its armament, modified by the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ; includes a remotely operated M240 machine gun that also has modular station that can be put in a range of vehicles.
Give the area of robotics a few years to expand and develop, and we will have some pretty cool war robots… until they decide to give them minds of their own. Then the roles of the creators will not last long…