From Seeker: The Pentagon may soon be unleashing a 21st-century version of locusts on its adversaries after officials on Monday said it had successfully tested a swarm of 103 micro-drones. The important step in the development of new autonomous weapon systems was made possible by improvements in artificial intelligence, holding open the possibility that groups of small robots could act together under human direction. Military strategists have high hopes for such drone swarms that would be cheap to produce and able to overwhelm opponents' defenses with their great numbers. The test of the world's largest micro-drone swarm in California in October included 103 Perdix micro-drones measuring around six inches (16 centimeters) launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, the Pentagon said in a statement. "The micro-drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing," it said. Cont'd...
SpectroDrone is the worlds first sensor system capable of detecting explosives, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other chemical compounds from a safe, standoff distance.
Source - Sky News: An insect-sized spy drone with four flapping wings and four legs is set to become Britain's latest weapon in the war on terror. The Dragonfly drone fits in the palm of a hand and has four flapping wings and four legs. It can fly through the air with great agility, allowing it to penetrate buildings through open windows, and perch on surfaces to eavesdrop. It can detect incoming objects and buildings, meaning it can avoid obstacles at high speeds. It is one of a number of pieces of kit being developed by the Ministry of Defence as part of an innovation drive. Cont'd...
Many police departments have purchased or plan to buy drones for search-and-rescue, arson, disaster relief, and accident investigations. Police officials say the devices can keep officers out of dangerous situations and cover more ground quickly, especially in the case of a missing child or an armed suspect on the run, especially in rural areas.
JG Randall for The National Interest: Things tend to happen in threes. An unlikely triumvirate on the surface, it would appear that Asimov’s laws on robotics and the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) will outflank the Third Offset—the nation’s search for its next silver bullet in war fighting is robotics—knowing that many nations will agree on moral grounds. These nations will reject Asimov based on semantics, and though the debate might be perceived as strictly academic, or even rhetorical, it is worth discussing for the sake of a good cautionary tale. Because, whether we like it or not, killer bots are coming to a theater of operation near you. Before we get deep in the weeds, let’s get some clarity. First, let’s outline Asimov’s robotic laws. The Three Laws of Robotics are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. They were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround,” although they had been foreshadowed in earlier stories. Cont'd...
Bomb robots were designed to help detonate and remove Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), not to deliver payloads. But the Dallas police improvised and attached a bomb delivery system to the robot.
The CCS prototype was developed for the U.S. government and its goal is to simultaneously control multiple unmanned assets in various environments (water, air and ground).
TORCs unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) conversion kits, which maintain the ability for optionally manned operation, offer the proven capabilities and modularity necessary for AFRL to scale from one prototype to production quantity.
While todays technology is highly advanced and offers sufficient end user applications, there is room for advancement in both the areas of research in the current technology as well as new and unique solutions in applications that have not been tried before.
Overall the unmanned systems industry is healthy and growing, even in this fiscal climate. Commercial applications of unmanned systems in mining, agriculture, and health care continues to grow, as the robustness and maturity of unmanned systems increases.
Smart phones and new apps will dramatically improve the way unmanned systems distribute and deliver situational awareness to our troops while at the same time significantly reducing the command and control costs of unmanned systems.
To validate and demonstrate our Through-the-Earth capability, we developed a full-duplex MI Modem (MIM-1000) and installed it on a Pioneer 3-AT R&D robot. Initial field trials were carried out at an abandoned coal mine in Nova Scotia, Canada, where we successfully demonstrated the robot - we call her "Maggie" - being driven and maneuvered remotely by an operator located on the mines surface with Maggie located in an underground mine shaft separated by over 100 feet of geological overburden.
Will todays developers of military UGVs be tomorrows manufacturers of autonomous civilian cars? Probably not. However, it is clear that the technologies developed for one will be adapted for another.
STOPS engineers found the native Galil programming language easy-to-use, which helped enable them to incorporate several safety routines into the operating system. For example, whenever the controller does not receive a data stream, it goes into a fail-safe routine that brings the vehicle to a stop.
Silvus Technologies demonstrated its MIMO radio repeater capability integrated into QinetiQs TALON and iRobots FasTac robots at the Army Expeditionary Warfighters Experiment (AEWE) Spiral G. TARDECs Ground Vehicle Robotics group requested Silvus to integrate its SC3500 MIMO radio into both robotic platforms as part of TARDECs ISR Mission Concepts platform.
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The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.