NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I think what bothered me most about reading the article was my own lack of ability to balance my two reactions of "Oh my God, that's so horrible" with "Oh my God, that's so cool."

Self proclaimed hypocrite,
NYC

Written by:
Army Prepares 'Robo-Soldier' for Iraq
SWORDS to Be First Armed Robotic Vehicles in Combat
By MICHAEL P. REGAN, AP

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. (Jan. 23) - The rain is turning to snow on a blustery January morning, and all the men gathered in a parking lot here surely would prefer to be inside. But the weather couldn't matter less to the robotic sharpshooter they are here to watch as it splashes through puddles, the barrel of its machine gun pointing the way like Pinocchio's nose. The Army is preparing to send 18 of these remote-controlled robotic warriors to fight in Iraq beginning in March or April.

Made by a small Massachusetts company, the SWORDS, short for Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection Systems, will be the first armed robotic vehicles to see combat, years ahead of the larger Future Combat System vehicles currently under development by big defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics Corp.

It's easy to humanize the SWORDS (a tendency robotics researchers say is only human) as it moves out of the flashy lobby of an office building and into the cold with nary a shiver.

Military officials like to compare the roughly three-foot-high robots favorably to human soldiers: They don't need to be trained, fed or clothed. They can be boxed up and warehoused between wars. They never complain. And there are no letters to write home if they meet their demise in battle.

But officials are quick to point out that these are not the autonomous killer robots of science fiction. A SWORDS robot shoots only when its human operator presses a button after identifying a target on video shot by the robot's cameras.

"The only difference is that his weapon is not at his shoulder, it's up to half a mile a way," said Bob Quinn, general manager of Talon robots for Foster-Miller Inc., the Waltham, Mass., company that makes the SWORDS. As one Marine fresh out of boot camp told Quinn upon seeing the robot: "This is my invisibility cloak."

Quinn said it was a "bootstrap development process" to convert a Talon robot, which has been in military service since 2000, from its main mission - defusing roadside bombs in Iraq- into the gunslinging SWORDS.

It was a joint development process between the Army and Foster-Miller, a robotics firm bought in November by QinetiQ Group PLC, which is a partnership between the British Ministry of Defence and the Washington holding company The Carlyle Group.

Army officials and employees of the robotics firm heard from soldiers "who said 'My brothers are being killed out here. We love the EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), but let's put some weapons on it,"' said Quinn.

Working with soldiers and engineers at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, it took just six months and only about $2 million in development money to outfit a Talon with weapons, according to Quinn and Anthony Sebasto, a technology manager at Picatinny.

The Talon had already proven itself to be pretty rugged. One was blown off the roof of a Humvee and into a nearby river by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Soldiers simply opened its shrapnel-pocked control unit and drove the robot out of the river, according to Quinn.

The $200,000, armed version will carry standard-issue Squad Automatic Weapons, either the M249, which fires 5.56-millimeter rounds at a rate of 750 per minute, or the M240, which can fire about 700 to 1,000 7.62-millimeter rounds per minute. The SWORDS can fire about 300 rounds using the M240 and about 350 rounds using the M249 before needing to reload.

All its optics equipment - the four cameras, night vision and zoom lenses - were already in the Army's inventory.

"It's important to stress that not everything has to be super high tech," said Sebasto. "You can integrate existing componentry and create a revolutionary capability."

The SWORDS in the parking lot at the headquarters of the cable news station CNBC had just finished showing off for the cameras, climbing stairs, scooting between cubicles, even broadcasting some of its video on the air.

Its developers say its tracks, like those on a tank, can overcome rock piles and barbed wire, though it needs a ride to travel faster than 4 mph.

Running on lithium ion batteries, it can operate for 1 to 4 hours at a time, depending on the mission. Operators work the robot using a 30-pound control unit which has two joysticks, a handful of buttons and a video screen. Quinn says that may eventually be replaced by a "Gameboy" type of controller hooked up to virtual reality goggles.

The Army has been testing it over the past year at Picatinny and the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland to ensure it won't malfunction and can stand up to radio jammers and other countermeasures. (Sebasto wouldn't comment on what happens if the robot and its controller fall into enemy hands.)

Its developers say the SWORDS not only allows its operators to fire at enemies without exposing themselves to return fire, but also can make them more accurate.

A typical soldier who could hit a target the size of a basketball from 300 meters away could hit a target the size of a nickel with the SWORDS, according Quinn.

The better accuracy stems largely from the fact that its gun is mounted on a stable platform and fired electronically, rather than by a soldier's hands, according to Staff Sgt. Santiago Tordillos of the EOD Technology Directorate at Picatinny. Gone are such issues as trigger recoil, anticipation problems, and pausing the breathing cycle while aiming a weapon.

"It eliminates the majority of shooting errors you would have," said Tordillos.

Chances are good the SWORDS will get even more deadly in the future. It has been tested with the larger .50 caliber machine guns as well as rocket and grenade launchers - even an experimental weapon made by the Australian company Metal Storm LLC that packs multiple rocket rounds into a single barrel, allowing for much more rapid firing.

"We've fired 70 shots at Picatinny and we were 70 for 70 hitting the bull's-eye," said Sebasto, boasting of the arsenal's success with a Vietnam-era rocket launcher mounted on a SWORDS.

There are bound to be many eyes watching SWORDS as it heads to battle. Its tracks will one day be followed by the larger vehicles of the Future Combat System, such as six-wheel-drive MULE under development by Lockheed Martin, a 2.5-ton vehicle with motors in each wheel hub to make it more likely to survive.

The Pentagon's research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, also recently awarded contracts to aid research of robots that one day could be dropped into combat from airplanes and others meant to scale walls using electrostatic energy - also known as "static cling."

Many of the vehicles being developed for the FCS will have some autonomy, meaning they'll navigate rough terrain, avoid obstacles and make decisions about certain tasks on their own.

They may be able to offer cues to their operators when potential foes are near, but it's doubtful any of them will ever be allowed to make the decision to pull the trigger, according to Jim Lowrie, president of Perceptek Inc., a Littleton, Colo., firm that is developing robotics systems for the military.

"For the foreseeable future, there always will be a person in the loop who makes the decision on friend or foe. That's a hard problem to determine autonomously," said Lowrie.

01-23-05 20:47 EST

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.



I wonder how easy it will be to invade even more countries if we don't even need to send our own boys to do it.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Havokist
BRONZE Member since Dec 2004

Havokist


Location: Manchester, United Kingdom

Total posts: 2530
Posted:it's amazing that technology can do this, but eventually every of the more developed armed forces will have an army of these robots, and it will end up leading to another cold war, and that isnt good, plus the robot's will be like the dreadnaughts of the world wars, and when one gets upgraded, it will have the power to destroy all others, and then the other side will get one, and then that can destroy all the non-upgraded one's, which will rended all the slightly older one's useless, and it goes in a BIG annoying circle

We are the music makers, We are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers, On whom the pale moon gleams;
We are the movers and shakers of the world for ever, it seems.

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Wonder Monkey
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Wonder Monkey

Certainly confused
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, United King...

Total posts: 121
Posted:THE RISE OF THE MACHINES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! help eek

My Mummy Says Im Special

bounce ubbloco bounce

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:
Non-Https Image Link


Don't worry, we'll "Amend for Arnold" to be our next prez. He'll save us. Or at least save Kellifhornia.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Wonder Monkey
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Wonder Monkey

Certainly confused
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, United King...

Total posts: 121
Posted:biggrin biggrin biggrin biggrin

My Mummy Says Im Special

bounce ubbloco bounce

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The Real Fryed Fish


God's illgitament son
Location: state of confusion

Total posts: 1489
Posted:2 things on this.................1) personaly i would rather see robots fighting than people, however, 2) like havokist said it will go around and around on upgrades, and i dont think the military will be happy untill they have a robot that can carry nukes.........there are other littlr odds and ends as well but those are my main thoughts...........

over all i think the negative aspects will far out way the positvie...but that seems to be the trend with wars........

p.s. grasshoppah and i told you we will all be robots, but oh no you didn't want to listen wink


You can't avoid pain by fencing yourself from it.
Some times you need the help of others more than anything else
But you have to let them close enough to help......
People want to be needed, I found that out too

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MiG
GOLD Member since Apr 2004

MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG, Australia

Total posts: 3415
Posted:that is rather cool, though. I'm just waiting for the day when it isnt just robotic tanklike things - theres planes, cars, helicopters. So many of the limitations, especially military, are human factors, so if the person flying the jet isnt in it, there's no need to worry about blackouts due to g0forces and stuff.

Plus, how great is it going to be when stuff like this makes it back into the civilian world? Rescue craft, things like that.


"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Written by: Fryed Fish

1) personaly i would rather see robots fighting than people,



I don't know that I necessarily agree with that. I mean, of course I do in theory, but in practice I'm not sure that it would work that way. I think it would be more likely that we'd see richer countries invading poorer countries and killing everyone who spoke against them.

I think if Bush had an army of robots (OK, that sounds funny but it's looking more and more realistic from the above article!)... anyway... if Bush had an army of robots we'd be in Iran and North Korea tomorrow. And God knows where else by the weekend.

I see the number of US deaths in Iraq as the primary reason for why many people are against it. If we could guarantee that there would be no US deaths (only dead US robots and dead foreigner 'insurgents') I think the vast majority of voters could care less the body count we racked up in the Middle East or Africa. Hell, I think if we rolled into France with an army of robots and started shooting at anything that moved, there'd be a decent amount of support in this country.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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JauntyJames
SILVER Member since Dec 2004

JauntyJames

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Hampshire College, MA, USA

Total posts: 3533
Posted:Written by: Fryed Fish

p.s. grasshoppah and i told you we will all be robots, but oh no



gee, i was assuming that most of you guys were robots, but i dunno, mabey a few of you are human, i guess


-James

"How do you know if you're happy or sad without a mask? Or angry? Or ready for dessert?"

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The Real Fryed Fish


God's illgitament son
Location: state of confusion

Total posts: 1489
Posted:oh i agree with you, it will turn in to who ever has the most moeney will have the better robot, and invasions etc will go along with it.........and like i said, how long till they have robots that can carry small nukes into a place and just self detonate?

You can't avoid pain by fencing yourself from it.
Some times you need the help of others more than anything else
But you have to let them close enough to help......
People want to be needed, I found that out too

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Penguin Sven
SILVER Member since Jun 2004

Penguin Sven

member
Location: Australia,Vic

Total posts: 185
Posted:It sucks because, when a country declares war on another, their is always colatoral damage, (soldiers deaths) and this help end the war as soon as possible i spose, but with out this collateral what will deter people from war?

"glow bugs, to slow to resist eating, to bitter to eat more than one handfull in a sitting" toothpaste for dinner

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Tao Star


Tao Star

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 1662
Posted:i'm a robot. and you are all conforming perfectly to my evil plan

mwa ha ha ha ha...


I had a dream that my friend had a
strong-bad pop up book,
it was the book of my dreams.

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pozee
BRONZE Member since Jul 2001

old hand
Location: san diego, USA

Total posts: 886
Posted:i wish i had a robotech suit that i could fly with and do some landscape engineering with...

anyone got a light?

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Trillian
BRONZE Member since Feb 2004

Trillian

Llamas are larger than frogs.
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Total posts: 319
Posted:Written by: NYC

I think it would be more likely that we'd see richer countries invading poorer countries and killing everyone who spoke against them.


I definitely agree; if anything the robots would be likely to increase the death toll (on the "other side") because it will be easier to invade and harder to stop the robots;I just wish there was no need to invent things like this at all!


"I know a good deal more than a boiled carrot."
"Fire!" "Where?" "Nowhere, I was just illustrating the misuse of free speech."

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vim


strange/r/st/-ish
Location: upside down

Total posts: 142
Posted:
cool, but hackable.
as said, it's just another arms race.

No matter how we in the west try and sanitize war it is inevitably (prove me wrong) that those who practice war, suffer war.

I would rather practice peace, but I don't think that we, as a species, are ready or able to do that yet.
I hope we make it.
I hope even more that we don't, in our probable suicide, completely stuff this precious mud ball we are privileged to inhabit.

peace


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Bretch


Bretch

enthusiast
Location: Cork, Ireland at present

Total posts: 247
Posted:Written by:
Written by: NYC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I think it would be more likely that we'd see richer countries invading poorer countries and killing everyone who spoke against them.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I definitely agree; if anything the robots would be likely to increase the death toll (on the "other side") because it will be easier to invade and harder to stop the robots;I just wish there was no need to invent things like this at all!



Totally agree with this, but also, what happens when counrty a invades B, but B's got the secret remote....
and how long before some top-noch dick-head decides that the robot can and will decide who to shot, without human involvement? It will happen if these Kill-bots go into action and are seen as successful.... , with the technology of artificial intellegence.... it's terminitor for real. And if you think I'm joking, there are already robots that learn their sorroundings and learn to adapt to it, learn how to converse and probably alot more. We humans are sooooo censored stupid... well, the male part, and mainly the white part... kill kill kill... thats what we need, Hiroshima, the Holocaust, that was long ago, we've advanced since... we own the majority of the worlds money, but we obviously need and want it more, censored it, we'll have it all!!!!!!!! madangry mad angry mad angry devil



peace + heart = biggrin


I used to be indecisive, but I'm not so sure now.....

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mech
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

mech

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: "In your ear", United Kingdom

Total posts: 6207
Posted:i think this was eventually going to happen anyway..

robotics has been moving forwards faster and faster over the past few years, and while i respect that with these machinesfewer lives may be lost, and that fewer people may be required in teh field

but command point will still be needed, tech will be needed to fix the machines, and soldiers needed to gaurdthe techs and the machines

there is no way to make war a safe or effective thing

this is just a new way for the human race to do what it does best, kill its self off


Step (el-nombrie)

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grasshoppah
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

grasshoppah

HoP is teh suxor.
Location: Tampa, Florida, USA

Total posts: 425
Posted:AHHHHHHH ROBOTS!!!!!!!!!!!

Once in a while you get shown the light
in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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TheBovrilMonkey
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

TheBovrilMonkey

Liquid Cow
Location: High Wycombe, England

Total posts: 2629
Posted:
If Robot Wars had things like those on, I might have kept watching after Phillipa Forrester left wink

That's incredably cool, but at the same time incredably scary. Combined with the relatively recent advancements in medicine involving mechanical body parts, I'd say we're dead on track for heading straight into the cyberpunk genre.


But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

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Bretch


Bretch

enthusiast
Location: Cork, Ireland at present

Total posts: 247
Posted:Also, machines are made by man, man has, does and will always make mistakes!!!!

I used to be indecisive, but I'm not so sure now.....

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear,...

Total posts: 4693
Posted:whatever happens, the thrid world war will be faught with robots potentially, but "the fourth world war will be with sticks and stones"

its perpetual war, humans need it


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Burning Brain


Burning Brain

eye shifter
Location: between my headphones

Total posts: 321
Posted:true, good call

If I could be granted one wish I would ask for all the questions of the universe.

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Singed Piper (formerly Mark1)


Singed Piper (formerly Mark1)

resident bagpiper
Location: Vermont, USA

Total posts: 342
Posted:the potentially disturbing thing i see about this is not the robot's physical capabilities or any possible future/fictional a.i. on the first count i'd love to see war without casualties on our side (preferably not on the other either) and on the second, the general public should really study comp sci so they can see that the gap between current technology and true a.i. is like the gap between the rise of painting and television. what scares me is removing soldiers from the actual battle psychologically... there have been studies that go back to WW2 showing that humans are more likely to ignore their morals when ordered to in a situation where they do not actually "perform" said actions.

in one experiment, where the subject was lead to believe he was cunducting a study on classical conditioning with an electrical shock as the punishment, when ordered the subjects would administer what they believed were increasingly painful shocks to an individual reciting numbers in another room... the vast majority of subjects continued increasing the shocks well above what they were told was the "lethal dose", despite screams heard through an "intercom"

this seperation of act from consequences could create a disturbing lack of morals in future troops


Q:What's the difference between the Great Highland Bagpipes and the Northumbrian Pipes?
A:The Great Highland Pipes burn longer.

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Wonder Monkey
BRONZE Member since Jan 2005

Wonder Monkey

Certainly confused
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, United King...

Total posts: 121
Posted:Written by: Singed Piper (formerly Mark1)

this seperation of act from consequences could create a disturbing lack of morals in future troops



I think theirs a pretty strong argument to say its affecting them in the here and now - with the only separation from the act being the order telling you to perform it. To many, thats enough to start the rot IMO frown


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