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SAN JOSE, CA – The designers of a robot that can sustain itself by eating its surrounding environment now swear it is vegetarian.

The concept of the machine, Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR), was originally released in 2003. It has since receive funding from the US military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), which has only fueled further concern over the robot’s real purpose.

EATR was designed to carry out missions with no need for refueling by reaping its own fuel from the surrounding environment. This led many to speculate that it would essentially be a “corpse eater”, eating its way through the bodies of fallen soldiers.

Harry Schoell, the chief executive of Cyclone Power Technologies, said, “We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission.”

Instead the company has assured that the robot will only feed on plant material.

One of the other inventors, Dr Robert Finkelstein of Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI), said that EATR will have built-in systems that would determine whether material it ingested was animal or vegetable. If it was found to be animal, the machine would immediately stop.

But is ths just a smokescreen until it’s too late? Will the military be using such a monstrosity?