December 01, 2004

You Have 10 Seconds to Comply...

For the army that would prefer soldiers without a conscience, Foster-Miller has a solution...

Okay not quite, these are just R/C toys with machine guns and soon rocket launchers, but automation isn't far away.

'The Patriot Missile system fires with no human intervention. It uses an Identification Friend-or-Foe system to track everything in the air, and shoot down anything that shouldn't be there. During the recent Iraq invasion, a glitch in this system caused it to fire upon a British fighter jet, destroying it and killing its pilot. It was about to do the same to a US jet, but that jet was armed with fast-flying radar-seeking missiles designed to take out hostile SAM sites, and was able to take out the radar component of the Patriot system before the missile reached his plane. Notably no one was injured on the ground when he did this, since there was nobody actually sitting in front of the device, or anywhere near it.

I think it'll be a long time before autonomously firing ground systems are in place, because it's hard enough doing IFF in the sky, let alone on the ground. I think the fire-finder system (used in the Balkans to take out mortar positions in the mountains firing upon cities) might do this in some limited capacity, but that's only anti-artillery, rather than telling the difference between a guerilla carrying an RPG and a farmer carrying a section of irrigation pipe. Sure, you could wait until they shoot first for all of these systems, since that's a lot easier to determine automatically, but I think it's quite obvious that waiting for the other guy to shoot first is very far from the policy of the current administration.' [ca1v1n]

...and as to the weaponized specs:

'The weapons these things are carrying are the M249 SAW. They are chambered in the 5.56mm NATO round spec and carry a 200 round box which it feeds from, but it can also use the regular 30 round magazines that the M-16 uses. The gun was developed in the 70s and has been used by the US, UK, and Isreali forces. Although the original ones could accept the M-16 magazines the latest Mk.46 mod.0 version doesn't include this option as to save weight on an already hefty 6.8 kg gun.' [NEOtaku17]

[Army to deploy robots that shoot from /.]

Posted by nym at 07:28 PM | TrackBack

June 21, 2004

Killer Drones on the Gaza Strip

8153839961650352.jpgIt had to happen. The Israeli Army is talking about using killer robotic drones after a "troop withdraw". Personally, I think that if you replace a soldier with a drone, then get that soldier to sit in front of a computer controlling that drone, then you aren't really withdrawing at all. Kind of like how Dubya offered to bulldoze Abu Grabi and rebuild it with a new prison.

"A computerized observation system will allow the army to identify "hostile elements" and fire deep into Gaza, Yediot said. The system will even choose the most appropriate weapon to use to hit a specific target."

While the plans are not definite, I'm sure the Israeli Army would love to have all those people living under the gun.

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 01:56 PM | TrackBack

June 10, 2004

Climbing Robots

climb.jpgNASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), who incidentally sponsored my father's migration to the states from England, are always coming up with new uses of technology. Their latest research has produced a rock climbing robot, called LEMUR, which has four legs each with their own claw to attempt footholds. Very similar to the spy bot previously reviewed, but much more hi-tech.

Having done a bit of rock climbing myself, I'm aware of the challenges inherit in gripping to vertical surfaces; I'm not surprised LEMUR currently has to be fed coordinates to climb from foothold to foothold. Luckily when they teach it to climb by itself it won't get vertigo.

In other news, I found this picture related to an earlier article on martial art impact sensors, which looks like a sketch of their prototype. If anyone has more pictures of this, please contact me (tom long tat gmail zot com).


[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 01:11 PM | TrackBack

June 07, 2004

Serious Robots

wany_robot.jpgWay cool robot platform, suitable for a lot of projects (but please don't put a vacuum on it).

This mobile robot platform from Pekee has "microcontrollers (Mitsubishi M16c) , [a] video camera, 802.11b [WiFi], gyrometers (yum), and temperature, light, shock, and infrared sensors." Of course, if you read this blog, you know that all this gear aint cheap, but you can pick one up for your robotic research for $10,000.

[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 04:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2004

Drone Boats

droneboat.jpgSea Drones seem to be the next big thing for the Coast Guard and Drug Runners alike, but I'm a lot more interested in these things for people like Steven Roberts who has the infamous microship, or boat owners worried about modern day pirates.

[from Gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 12:29 PM | TrackBack