“These are autonomous robotic targets you’re able to shoot live ammunition at, that can on their own, conduct different scenarios and it greatly enhances your combat marksman capability,” said Paul Money, Special Projects Manager with Marathon Targets, the company behind the technology.

He said also that the technology has been around for a while, but it is new to the U.S. Army and to 5th Group. Marathon Target’s website calls autonomy the enabling advantageous technology which brings the targets to life. Joystick control of moving targets requires continuous human supervision, for now.

The Marathon robotic targets drive autonomously across the entire range, are aware of their surroundings and communicate with each other to synthesize a convincing and challenging tactical environment.

Many soldiers run into the situation that the first time they encounter a realistic moving target is in combat and the training with the moving targets helps change all that. The soldiers are able to shoot the robots and get something that’s going to mimic what they will see in combat, so they are better prepared when it does happen.