Boston Dynamics developed the first robots that can run and maneuver using motions based on how animals move. The company's Petman, developed to test chemical protection clothing, extends this idea to motions based on human movements. Petman has learned to climb stairs. (Source: Boston Dynamics)
Of all those robots shown only the talon swat has been weaponized. I think with shotgun. Didn't think big dog was off the leash yet :-) last time I saw it they were still trying to sort out the pgo effect when starting to move. They were talking about a version that would home in on the future solider gear and retrieve wounded. None of these are really autonomous and nothing has the versatility as a human in combat. And boots on the ground are how you occupy territory. Not sure robots turning other robots into scrap will accomplish much as there is nothing risked.
I think the point about the tendency to assume the other side are idiots is a very good one. From what I've seen, it's not just the US, or those nations we currently call friends, that are working on R&D for autonomous lethalized robots.
But what happens when its OUR troops that encounter killing machines that have no fear? This will cost lives, not save lives. Humans always seem to think that the "other side" are idiots. But witness the recent capture of the drone by Iran. I suspect they spoofed the drone's GPS into thinking it was back home safely so it simply landed. Not a shot was fired. All technology can be weaponized. The future does not seem rosey for humans unless we all realize that killing other people will not solve the majority of the problems.
I worked on a Glass Shuttle Robotic system which had a robot to pick up windshields and place them on a small shuttle conveyor that carried them to another robot. This robot removed the windshields off the conveyor and placed them on the automobile where a final robot applied urethane. Over 5 years the Glass Shuttle Robotic system paid for itself in replacing 3 employee salaries with benefits. The 3 displaced workers found jobs in the trim shop. So a happy ending can be achieved when replacing the workforce with robotics if its plan correctly! I'm glad you enjoyed my comments.
I agree completely.My first experience with a "teach pendant" involved programming a SCARA (Selective Compliant Assembly Robot Arm) for a "pick and place", four axis robot.This device dispensed an acrylic adhesive used to adhere a stainless steel overlay onto a painted aluminized steel panel.The system itself was designed for us by LOCTITE Adhesives.We were able to reduce the cost of the assembly by approximately $3.00 per panel and came out as heroes.Most of the saving resulted from the reduction of labor due to replacing double-sided tape with the adhesive.It was a great learning experience and one in which I certainly value as an engineer.Many thanks for your comments.Bob J.
Robotic Systems are fascinating and have come a long way from the days of working in industrial environments. I remember my first engineering job right out of college was to learn how to program a GMFanuc Industrial robot. Man, talk about a cool job and at that time (1986) the teach pendant was the device to program the robot to perform industrial jobs such as welding and painting. Now with today's wireless technology and visual programming software, robotic systems can easily developed and deployed in all types of applications including the military sector as illustrated in the slideshow.
Robotic systems absolutely fascinate me.Large or small, no matter how functional, they continue to grab my attention.With that being said, they also make me realize how marvelously complex the human body is.Could there ever be a computer better designed to drive the human robot than the three pound mass sitting on our shoulders?I don't think so.I fully agree with attempts to send robots where humans can't or shouldn't go.I have a buddy whose son served two tours in Iraq.One conversation with him will make you a believer in that robotic systems do save lives and continuing development is mandatory—especially for our soldiers and marines in far-flung theatres.
j-allen, thanks for sharing your real-world experience. That sounds like what I remember hearing from some friends who were in aerospace engineering back then, and since: technology initially defined/designed as defensive becomes offensive. That seems to be a very old story.
In cases where the task is very repeatable and requires no thought a robot would be very helpful in eliminating mistakes due to fatique or workers not paying attention. However, there are some cases where independant thought would be required. I'm thinking when I go into the IR I want a person telling me to count down from 10 to 1 not Mr. Roboto.
From a jobs standpoint I think of how being able to program such robots would be a good technical skill.
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