Last updated: 8 february, 2010 - 11:41 GMT

Could robots replace soldiers on the battlefield?

A small vehicle-type robot at a German army base

Ethical rules of engagement for robots are being debated

How far could machines replace humans on the battlefield?

Robotics has already spread rapidly in air warfare, as pilotless drones become a popular weapon in conflicts like Afghanistan.

This has been happening at a time when the pressure is on in ground combat to reduce casualties and use technology more widely.

Stephen Sackur has been investigating what is at stake.

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First broadcast 08 February 2010

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