The US military is testing a radical ‘smart rifle’ that can automatically aim itself, it has been revealed.
The army is believed to have acquired six $27,000 ‘smart rifles’ from Texas firm Tracking Point.
It uses a built in computer to aim at a target, and can even ‘lock on’ top targets and automatically track them.
Oren Schauble, a marketing official with the Austin, Texas-based company, confirmed the military bought a handful of them in recent months for evaluation.
‘The military has purchased several units for testing and evaluation purposes,’ he said during an interview with Military?.com at the annual SHOT Show, the country’s largest gun show with 60,000 attendees.
The system includes a Linux-powered computer in the scope with sensors that collect imagery and ballistic data such as atmospheric conditions, cant, inclination, even the slight shift of the Earth’s rotation known as the Coriolis effect. A laser rangefinder is used by the shooter looking through the scope to identify the target that he or she wants to hit.
The high-tech sight then takes into account humidity, wind and the typical ballistic drop you’d expect from a bullet fired over such a distance.
Once the target has been selected, the scope provides cross-hairs which have to be lined up with the pin that is dropped on the target.
To ensure accuracy, the shooter can not even squeeze the trigger unless the cross-hairs and pin are alined.
On their website TrackingPoint say they build ‘Precision Guided Firearms, or ‘PGFs, ‘Which are a series of three heavily customized hunting rifles, ranging from a .300 Winchester Magnum with a 22-inch barrel up to a .338 Lapua Magnum with 27-inch barrel, all fitted with advanced computerized scopes.
To shoot at something, you first ‘mark’ it using a button near the trigger.
Marking a target illuminates it with the tracking scope’s built-in laser, and the target gains a red pip in the scope’s display.
The rifle also offers an iOS app that connects to the scope via a mobile Wi-Fi network and streams the scope’s display to the app, allowing someone with an iPad or iPhone to act as a spotter and for videos to be uploaded to the Internet. This allows hunters to gain instant advice on their aim from experts using the Internet and more interestingly allows shooters to video anything they shoot on an expedition and upload it onto the web as proof.
The makers of the rifle also claim that the gun is safer than a standard bolt action rifle. This is because a large number of injuries are caused by recoiling guns fired by nervous shooters with twitch fingers. TrackingPoint’s rifle increases the pull strength of the trigger until the the the target is aligned.
In this way, the hunter is more likely to hit their target and accidental firings can be largely avoided.
The Smart Rifle tags targets within a 500-yard range and automatically shoots them - even if they’re moving as fast as 10 miles per hour, according to NBC News.
‘There are some amazing expert marksmen in the world,’TrackingPoint CEO John Lupher told Digital Trends. ‘But what this does is, it lets you pick up this gun and go shoot right to the same level of those expert marksmen.’
Mr Lupher also boasted the gun is ‘beyond what the human capacity is for being able to factor’ the exact spot to hit moving targets and fire off a shot.
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