The U.S. military forces in Afghanistan aren't going it alone any more: As of February, more than 2,000 robots are also helping the cause.
According to Wired.com's calculation, that means one in 50 U.S. troops in Afghanistan is a robot.
Marine Corp Lt. Col. Dave Thompson, the project manager for the joint project office for robotics systems, said historically these droids have been used primarily for detecting improvised explosive devices. But today, their roles have expanded to include reconnaissance, surveillance and to monitor entry control points.
Thompson said there are five primary robots being employed: a 35-pound mini-EOD robot that can be carried in a backpack; medium-sized Talon and Packbots that weigh about 65 pounds; a 120-pound Talon that is popular with EOD units because of its strong arm and manipulator; and a vehicle-sized M160, which can remotely clear minefields.
The M160 features a front-facing roller with flails and hammers that churn the soil to destroy or detonate mines. The robots are designed to absorb multiple explosions as they clear the field. Despite the beating they take, they have a 90 percent reliability rate, he said.