To many people, "military robots" mean unmanned aerial or ground vehicles. Many military robots fit these categories, but some go way beyond this definition.
For example, we've reported before on Boston Dynamics robots that mimic human, animal, and insect movements. The Georgia Institute of Technology's Scalybots mimic a snake's movements. Designers of these tactical robots are trying to come up with small machines with rugged design, multiple data collection and communication methods, long battery life, the ability to negotiate rough terrain, and, in some cases, lifting and grasping capabilities. The goal is to go where humans can't without risking their lives.
Click on the image below to start a slideshow highlighting 14 robotic soldiers.
The Machine Lab's MMP-30 Mechanical Mobile Platform is used for explosive ordnance disposal in Iraq. It weighs 50 pounds (including control unit), measures about 23 inches long when collapsed, and can be carried in a backpack. Its pan/tilt color infrared camera has 180-degree pan and 150-degree tilt. The robot also sports a color, wide-angle gripper camera and a color, wide-angle rear-facing camera. The four-axis arm has a 20-inch reach and can lift five pounds at full extension. (Source: The Machine Lab)
Sounds like this has been a behind-the-scenes industry for some time. That explains why the robots look so complex and highly developed. It will be interesting to see how soon these robots get deployed for civilian use.
@MyDesign: I know robots can be deployed for many great purposes, including these military applications. Being able to send a robot into harm's way instead of a soldier (or a rescue worker, for that matter) is invaluable and I applaud all the innovation and technical progress being made in order to do so.
Beth, Robots can be used to serve many purposes. Most of the robots are used in military warfare, space applications and atomic reactors, where human interactions are not possible. But that doesn't mean that robots are using only for such purposes, it can be used in industries and hospitals. Now a day's hospitals are also making use of robots service in ICUs and Operation (Surgery) theatre for assisting doctors.
I think often war or the desire to be viewed as the biggest and baddest without having to actually use the weapons has lead to several improvements to technology that eventually find their way into the private sector. And then some entreprenuer takes it to the next level and commercializes it.
I think this is a great way, although, not really given much credit, where the government develops a technology for the benefit of self defense and it results in advancements in technology. That in turn make our lives better.
I loved that show. I think I saw the U.S version of it though. I like to see all of the robot competitions and clubs and such that are encouraging our engineers of the future. I encourage anyone reading this to consider getting involved and volunteer your time to help youngsters to get excited about robotics.
It is possibly true that those on the other side will also develop fighting robots, but the free world does have better technical resources, so we will have the upper hand for a while, at least. In addition, we will probably be able to utilize ECM against the enemy robots and reduce their effectiveness a bit. On the other side, we could always resort to multi-layer nuclear carpetbombing which would neutralize some opposition troops fairly well. At that point the other side would probably not have a similar response option handy.
And if you liked the Predator A with two Hellfire missles you'll love the Reaper (Predator B) that carries 14 plus bombs. I was reading at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Atomics_MQ-1_Predator about on Sptember 11, 2001 a Predator was shotdown over Iraq by a SAM during the "no fly zone" period. Under the "IRAQ" heading, a dogfight is described between a MIG25 and a Predator that was armed with a Stinger air-to-air missle. It says the Stinger was distracted by the MIGs missle. These machines have already taken human lives thus they are no longer in the realm of Sci-Fi. Looks like a new arms race to me. My bet is Moores Law will apply here too. I think we are in very deep dodo as far as the human race.
ChasChas, I think that's a good point. The search and rescue and surveillance/reconnaissance robots shown here definitely save lives. If robots ever become weaponized against people, instead of against bombs, that will be another story. Many nations' militaries are investing in R&D for exactly that scenario.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
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