Posts Tagged robots

Cool Stuff: A Quadrotor That Can Grasp Like An Eagle Or Harvest Energy From Powerlines

These are some incredible developments in Quadrotor/UAS technology. The ability to ‘grab’ something in mid-flight or to have the device harvest energy from a power line is amazing.

For the battlefield, there are some interesting uses for a quadrotor that could grab things on the fly like an eagle. A larger robot could be used to actually grab prisoners or steal equipment from the enemy. I have talked about defeating ‘hit and run’ tactics of the enemy, and imagine being able to capitalize on such an attack by not only stunning or wounding with a Switchblade, but then snatching the combatant with a ‘Grabber’.

I could also see using something like this for resupply missions that require an exchange between parties. I need this, and you need that, so let’s use the Grabber to quickly exchange those items. Perhaps there are sensitive materials that need to get picked up quickly–well the Grabber could be the one to do that. The Grabber could be used to pick up battlefield munitions to clear an area.

What would really be wild is to use a Grabber to attack and steal other UAS’s. Like two birds attacking one another, and may the bigger more aggressive bird win. Which if you look at where all this is going, quadrotors like this and their usages will mimic what animals or insects can do.

As to harvesting energy from powerlines, the Grabber would be an excellent tool for that. Or maybe the Grabber would gather fuel for a fuel cell that it is operating from, like a bird gathering sticks for it’s nest. Lot’s of ideas there and these robots will have all sorts of ways sustaining itself in the wild.

Interesting stuff and the imagination is the only limit here. –Matt


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Weapons Stuff: Libyan Rebel Weapons Development–Robots Armed With Machine Guns!

Interesting development. Although what the rebels need is what every military unit needs to be successful. They need to be organized, disciplined, trained, well equipped, well led, have unit cohesion, and most of all, have excellent strategy. So my question with the whole ‘robots with machine guns’ thing, is how does this advancement in their DIY weapons development, help in winning their war?
The other thing that strikes me here, is this whole DIY weapons movement going on in places like Mexico, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya? What would be fun is to start a whole new website just to track this very unique ‘makers’ industry. Much of it seems to be based on mimicry. They see a photo or video of a professionally made weapon system, and they try to copy it. This mimicry strategy helps to explain why you see the same type of armored vehicle design in Mexico, Iraq, or an attempt to armor vehicles in Libya. –Matt

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Technology: Israeli Robots Remake Battlefield

“We’re trying to get to unmanned vehicles everywhere on the battlefield for each platoon in the field,” says Lt. Col. Oren Berebbi, head of the Israel Defense Forces’ technology branch. “We can do more and more missions without putting a soldier at risk.”


    Hmmmm. A UAV per platoon huh?  Sounds like drone archer material if you ask me, and it is usually the Israelis that push the envelope on this stuff. I also posted a small deal on Scout Helicopter pilots being replaced by UAV’s for really dangerous missions.  You know, the ones where they try to draw fire in order to locate the enemy. The Hummingbird, Fire Scout, or even the AH 6X Little Bird UAV would all be good choices for such a mission. –Matt


Israeli Robots Remake Battlefield

Nation Forges Ahead in Deploying Unmanned Military Vehicles by Air, Sea and Land

January 12, 2010


TEL AVIV, Israel – Israel is developing an army of robotic fighting machines that offers a window onto the potential future of warfare.

Sixty years of near-constant war, a low tolerance for enduring casualties in conflict, and its high-tech industry have long made Israel one of the world’s leading innovators of military robotics.

“We’re trying to get to unmanned vehicles everywhere on the battlefield for each platoon in the field,” says Lt. Col. Oren Berebbi, head of the Israel Defense Forces’ technology branch. “We can do more and more missions without putting a soldier at risk.”

In 10 to 15 years, one-third of Israel’s military machines will be unmanned, predicts Giora Katz, vice president of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., one of Israel’s leading weapons manufacturers.

“We are moving into the robotic era,” says Mr. Katz.

Over 40 countries have military-robotics programs today. The U.S. and much of the rest of the world is betting big on the role of aerial drones: Even Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite guerrilla force in Lebanon, flew four Iranian-made drones against Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War.

When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, it had just a handful of drones. Today, U.S. forces have around 7,000 unmanned vehicles in the air and an additional 12,000 on the ground, used for tasks including reconnaissance, airstrikes and bomb disposal.

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Technology: Upcoming Military Robot Could Feed on Dead Bodies

   This has to rank as one of the top technology posts here.  Robots feeding on dead bodies in war zones?  Interesting to say the least. Doug found this one by the way. –Matt


Upcoming Military Robot Could Feed on Dead Bodies

Tuesday , July 14, 2009

It could be a combination of 19th-century mechanics, 21st-century technology — and a 20th-century horror movie.

A Maryland company under contract to the Pentagon is working on a steam-powered robot that would fuel itself by gobbling up whatever organic material it can find — grass, wood, old furniture, even dead bodies.

Robotic Technology Inc.’s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot — that’s right, “EATR” — “can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil, and solar) when suitable,” reads the company’s Web site.

That “biomass” and “other organically-based energy sources” wouldn’t necessarily be limited to plant material — animal and human corpses contain plenty of energy, and they’d be plentiful in a war zone.

EATR will be powered by the Waste Heat Engine developed by Cyclone Power Technology of Pompano Beach, Fla., which uses an “external combustion chamber” burning up fuel to heat up water in a closed loop, generating electricity.

The advantages to the military are that the robot would be extremely flexible in fuel sources and could roam on its own for months, even years, without having to be refueled or serviced.

Upon the EATR platform, the Pentagon could build all sorts of things — a transport, an ambulance, a communications center, even a mobile gunship.

In press materials, Robotic Technology presents EATR as an essentially benign artificial creature that fills its belly through “foraging,” despite the obvious military purpose.

Story here.

• Click here for a brief description of EATR at the Robotic Technology Web site.

• Click here for a much longer overview of the project in PDF format.

• Click here to read about the Cyclone Waste Heat Engine.

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Cool Stuff: The 60 Ton Robot Bulldozer Named ‘Black Thunder’

   60 tons of robotic mayhem.  Now that gets the cool stuff vote and I want one. LOL –Matt



‘Black Thunder’ unmanned dozers to play greater role in IDF

Mar. 30, 2009


The IDF Ground Forces Command plans to double the number of unmanned D9 armored bulldozers in the Engineering Corps arsenal after the vehicle provided exceptional results during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in January.

The unmanned version of the D9 bulldozer – called “Black Thunder” – was developed several years ago by the Engineering Corps and was only recently declassified.

“The unmanned D9 performed remarkably during Operation Cast Lead, clearing roads of mines and explosive devices,” explained one officer in the Ground Forces Command. “There was even one vehicle that was damaged, which demonstrates how it did its job since no one was injured.”

The Black Thunder looks like a regular D9 bulldozer but is equipped with a number of cameras that transmit images to the operator, who controls the vehicle with a wireless remote control. The unmanned D9 participated widely in Operation Cast Lead as well as in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

“The unmanned version is important since if there is a concern that an area is loaded with mines it can save lives,” the officer said, adding that in the event of a communications malfunction the vehicle can be turned into a manned vehicle and operated like a regular D9.

The Engineering Corps receive praise within the IDF for its participation in the operation in Gaza in January, with soldiers specializing in bomb disposal and detection leading regular infantry and armored forces on searches of Palestinian homes.

“There were explosive devices planted all over the Gaza Strip and particularly at the entrance to homes,” another officer in the Ground Forces Command said. “The Engineering Corps soldiers were instrumental in keeping the number of fatalities to a minimum by leading units and detecting and dismantling bombs.”

As a result, OC Ground Forces Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi is considering adding another battalion to the Engineering Corps as well as expanding the corps’ elite Yahalom Unit, which specializes in tunnel detection and destruction, counterterror operations, pinpoint detonations and explosive ordinance disposal.

 This article can be found here 

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Technology: War Robots, Ethics, and the Book ‘Wired for War’ by Peter Singer

   What can I say?  We are now having this discussion, and it blows me away.  And as I speak, drones are killing folks in IraqAfghanistan, and Pakistan, and have been doing so for awhile.  The only safety measure is that they are so far not really autonomous.  But what happens when we cut the cord and let some robot or drone operate on it’s own?  What happens if that robot has a glitch and accidently kills the good guys?  Do you charge a robot with manslaughter, are they covered by the Geneva Convention, do we give them full burial honors at Arlington Cemetery when they pass?

  On a side note, I did get a chance to pick up Peter Singer’s book, and I read through it a little.  I will not give a full review, but there were some parts that were interesting.  Especially the section that discussed ground robots, and the first ever drawing of blood in this war by a ground robot.  Basically some soldiers put a Claymore mine on a MARCbot, and drove it into a pack of insurgents and blew them up. The total cost for that kill, about $8,000, plus whatever it costs the military for a claymore.  I think I could make or buy a cheaper Claymore carriage at a hobby store, but still, that field expedient weapon is a whole lot cheaper than launching a Javelin at the enemy. (and if it hurt the enemy and/or saved lives, bravo!)

   The insurgents came up with a similar type deal using a skateboard according to the book.  I guess they made an explosive laden skateboard with motors on the wheels.  The insurgents powered it up, and set it rolling slowly towards a patrol, thinking the patrol would not pay attention to a slow rolling toy.  Luckily the patrol locked on to the thing, because it was moving against the wind.  The total cost of this weapon was way cheaper than the MARCbot, but could have easily succeeded if used properly.

   So with these humble beginnings of ground combat robots, will we one day see a robot that thinks on it’s own?  I do know that the desire for these things is driving the market big time.  With a highly competitive robotics market and a war that is not going away anytime soon, we will begin to see these kinds of autonomous war robots that science fiction, and now academics are talking about.  Good or bad, the future is now. –Matt


Military robots must be taught a warrior code

16 Feb 2009

Autonomous military robots must be taught a strict warrior code or they could turn on their human masters, a US report warns.

I, Robot: Military robots must be taught a warrior code

The warnings of a potential revolt, as envisaged by the science writer Isaac Asimov in his chilling I, Robot series of stories, appear in the first major report on robot ethics Photo: 20TH CENTURY FOX

The warnings of a potential revolt, as envisaged by the science writer Isaac Asimov in his chilling I, Robot series of stories, appear in the first major report on robot ethics.

The report, by researchers from the Ethics and Emerging Technologies Group at California Polytechnic State University, was funded by the US navy office of naval research.

Mindful of the US deployment in two major theatres of war, the military is keen to pursue alternatives to manpower, including Terminator-style armed robots.

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