The first time robots were used in ground combat occurred during the war in Afghanistan in July 2002. ‘Hermes’ was deployed ahead of US troops to search a network of caves in Qiqay, Afghanstan, which were a potential hiding place for enemy personnel and weaponry. Hermes, and the other four prototypes, Professor, Thing and Fester, are heavy enough to trigger mines (19 kg, 42 lbs), tall enough to trip booby-traps at foot level (30 cm, 1 ft) and long enough to carry 12 cameras, a grenade launcher and a 12-gauge shotgun (1 m, 3 ft).
Robots have been used in search and rescue operations prior to this. Hermes had also been used in mine-detection, but not during ‘combat’ in Afghanistan.
They are also fitted with GPS (which would allow the four to map each others’ movements) and are remotely operated on a sensory systems and by wireless lap-top. Each run on two, 2.7-kg (6-lb) batteries which last approximately one hour.