The military is using its robotics and artificial intelligence technology to better defend the nation from cyberattacks and other cyber-attacks, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.
The US Department of Defense said it had awarded $3.9 million to researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to create and deploy a robot for the Marine Corps.
The robot would be able to perform tasks including helping the Marine infantryman detect and respond to threats and detecting and responding to hostile cyberattacks.
The Marine Corps is developing the robot to help protect the Marines against cyberattacks, which it has warned will increase as the military expands its network of cyber-attack detection centers, said Capt. David Lohse, a Marine Corps spokesman.
The robot will not replace the soldiers, but will be a “last resort” to help the Marines protect the troops and the U.S. homeland from cyber-threats, Lohsel said.
Cyber-attack networks have been growing in size and sophistication as cybercriminals try to disrupt government operations and companies like Amazon, PayPal and Apple have been targeted.
Cyberattacks have increased over the past several years, the US military said, and it’s been increasing the number of cyberattacks it’s taking on.
In the last year, it’s reported 1,000 cyber-hacks, with more than 2,000 attributed to North Korea and more than 100 attributed to China.
The Pentagon is also looking at creating more cyber-defenses in the coming years, such as cyber-capable drones that can track targets and detect threats.
The research will be used for a second research grant awarded to the university in 2018, the Navy said.
The project was part of the Army Research Office’s Cyber Security Innovation Fund, which is helping the US Army develop technologies for its cyber-defense.