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