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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 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?


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