By adding Tasers to robots it already makes for the military, iRobot Corp. says it hopes to give soldiers and law enforcement a defensive, non-lethal tool. But some observers fear such developments could ultimately lead to robots capable of deciding on their own when to shoot and kill. “It’s one more step in that direction,’ said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an Alexandria, Va.-based military research organization. “It is not the first step in that direction, but I think at some point toward the end of the next decade, you’re going to start seeing RoboCops, or a Terminator,’ Pike said, referring to a pair of 1980s robot-themed sci-fi films. “We may see autonomous robots capable of inflicting lethal force.’ Jim Rymarcsuk, vice president for business development at Burlington, Mass.-based iRobot, said notions of armed robots acting on their own are far beyond what the company envisions for the partnership announced Thursday with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International Inc. “Right now, we have no plans to take any robot with a lethal-weapon approach to the market,’ Rymarcsuk said. “For this system, and all systems we have looked at, there is a human in the loop making the decisions. This in no way is giving the robot the capability to use force on its own.’ For iRobot, its Taser-equipped system will be the first robot capable of using force to disable a person, rather than a bomb. The 17-year-old company is best known for its mobile robots for the consumer market, including the disc-shaped, carpet cleaning Roomba. But home robots account for only 60 percent of the company’s revenue. The rest comes from government and industrial customers, including the military and police. Versions of iRobot’s PackBot have disarmed roadside bombs and searched caves and buildings in Iraq and Afghanistan.