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Print 12 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Sep 8 at 3:46 PM

The recent contest had 30 companies show off their unmanned vehicles

The U.S. Army is now testing robotic vehicles that may one day be able to protect soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. To help spur research, the Army recently held the Robotics Rode, offering companies the opportunity to show off future vehicles.

"We've all fought and we've lost friends on places where unmanned ground vehicles could have done the task equally well, and I regret that like you'll never know," said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch.  "If I had done a better job fielding unmanned ground vehicles, those young people would still be alive."

The event, which was held from September 1-4 at Fort Hood, Texas, gave 30 companies the opportunity to show off their autonomous robotics.  Each vehicle had to maneuver through several field demonstrators, with military and civilian judges on hand.

The military hopes that the vehicles can help evacuate wounded soldiers, serve as scouts to help locate ambushes, and intentionally set off improvised explosive devices hidden by insurgents.

There isn't a set time line as to when the military hopes to use these vehicles, but military experts say they need to be used as soon as possible.

At the same time of the Robotics Rodeo, the Army also tested several advanced battlefield technologies pulled from the now defunct Future Combat Systems program.  Soldiers on the battlefield will give Army officials feedback on the technology, and what they would request.



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RE: Err ...
By mindless1 on 9/7/2009 10:05:29 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point, that they have to have SOME kind of conflict to reference in making the matter seem URGENT, otherwise someone might get the impression we're just buying them new toys when there are already budget concerns.

[rant]
I'm totally for decreasing battlefield losses but the solution has to be logically approached, not nonsensically as Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch demonstrates. Contrary to his statements, "We've all fought and we've lost friends on places where unmanned ground vehicles could have done the task equally well", not everyone in the military has "fought" actively even during wartime, not even everyone who has fought actively has lost friends, and as the *need* for this robotic rodeo demonstrates, unmanned robots COULD NOT have done the job equally well or else they wouldn't still be trying to find some that can.

Total BS by a moron, this is the kind of problem our military faces that they promote people who aren't the best candidates for their positions.

Winning wars requires good leadership more than the latest tech toy, unless all you're trying to do is kill everyone which tends to have diplomatic repercussions as well as inciting more violence.

How do you win a war? By making the enemy feel they are better off giving up than continuing to fight, potentially even better off giving up than if they win the war at great cost. Strategy, not the latest toys.

Having written this much, give them some robots but not in the same wasteful spending tradition typical of government/ military programs. Unlike planes, artillery, etc, any such tech item will be obsolete in very few years so it doesn't make sense to invest large sums of money in a robot army.

On the other hand I'd have much rather we sent more funds the way of the military for robots if nothing else, instead of cash for clunkers.

Just looking at how what funds they have can be best spent and at present there isn't extra money for robots so it becomes at least as important to look at the detractions as the heart-string quotes about a future where war doesn't involve death.

[/rant]


RE: Err ...
By JonnyDough on 9/8/2009 6:22:28 AM , Rating: 2
I want to know who gets the medal when a robot shows bravery in combat and saves a fellow soldier. Is it the robot, the robot driver, or the robot designer? If all three get a medal it might offset any cost savings.

Will the robots be given a second chance at life through reconstructive surgery if they are injured? Are prosthetic parts included in the insurance package?

What if a robot "goes rogue" and deserts the military like Short Circuit? Will they:

Hunt it down and throw it in robo-prison?

Capture it and wipe its memory banks?

Make a new robot with more submissive programming and chalk up the old one as "lost technology"...while secretly releasing a robot bounty hunter to collect the roguebots and sell their parts on the black market - ultimately requiring the DEA to change tasks, which would allow our children to run coked out on the streets while they are focused on fighting against the morbid trafficking of robotic arms and wheels instead of making deals with the kingpin drug dealers?


RE: Err ...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 9/8/2009 12:05:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How do you win a war? By making the enemy feel they are better off giving up than continuing to fight, potentially even better off giving up than if they win the war at great cost. Strategy, not the latest toys.

I dunno, it worked pretty damn well in World War 2 to simply destroy everything that got in the way. I do recall many of our combat bombing raids on "industrial" towns racking up a nice 500k or more death toll in an afternoon. Don't discount the psychological damage we ca inflict with mass casualties. If everyone around them is dying in vast quantities, the desire to continue fighting tends to drop fast. Aside from the few fanatics in which case you simply kill them as they crop up.


RE: Err ...
By mindless1 on 9/8/2009 3:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
These are different times, we're not in any world wars and hopefully won't be within the viable lifespan of these proposed robots.

... or to put it another way, the conflicts that we are presently engaged in, are we simply destroying everything? That too would save our soldiers' lives, if we just sent in bombers instead but we are a bit more humane than that when possible.

Further, destroying everything isn't actually everything, as I wrote the remainder of the enemy felt they were better off giving up. We couldn't, and didn't, destroy all of Europe and beyond.


RE: Err ...
By Ammohunt on 9/8/2009 2:16:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Total BS by a moron, this is the kind of problem our military faces that they promote people who aren't the best candidates for their positions.


Agreed like the idiot that mandated Black Berets as standard headgear for the US ARMY(Black Berets originally reserverd for Rangers)...like we are the French ARMY that guy should be flogged.


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