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Foster-Miller MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System)  (Source: Wired's Danger Room)

  (Source: Wired's Danger Room)
Foster-Miller's MAARS system cuts down on friendly-fire accidents

The advancement of battlefield robots is progressing nicely at the Department of Defense. iRobot has already showcased its REDOWL-equipped PackBot which can detect enemy gunfire and the company's SUGV Early is a lightweight variant which is "backpackable."

Foster-Miller is upping the ante a bit with its new MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System) robot which aims to eliminate – or at least drastically reduce -- friendly-fire accidents. The 350-pound MAARS uses sophisticated software and GPS positioning to determine where friendly soldiers are located on the battlefield. Once programmed into the MAARS, the robot's machine gun is prevented from aiming towards friendly positions.

According to the Danger Room, MAARS is likewise pre-programmed to not fire on its control station where a soldier controls the unit.

The MAARS is also highly configurable based on battlefield needs. The standard tracks can be swapped out for wheels should the unit need to operate strictly in urban environments. The M240B Medium Machine Gun can also be swapped out for a control arm to lift items (100 pound capacity) detect/defuse roadside bombs or drag wounded soldiers out harm's way.

"Foster-Miller is proud to introduce the new MAARS robot to the US Military personnel who risk their lives every day defending our freedom," stated Dr. William Ribich, President of QinetiQ's Technology Solutions Group.  "The challenge before us now isn’t technological in nature but rather the widespread training of our forces to use this greatly enhanced robotic capability."

Any machine that can keep human soldiers out of direct combat situations is welcomed by the military, so the upgraded fail-safes included with the MAARS is a welcome addition.

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By bighairycamel on 10/9/2007 1:42:19 PM , Rating: 5
Eliminating friendly fire is a good thing, but if it were me, and I was going to die on the battlefield, being "killed by armed robot" would be a pretty cool way to go.

RE: Meh
By edpsx on 10/9/2007 1:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
Saw this thing on TV awhile back. Best thing about it is that it puts all the rounds in the same spot until you tell it to move. So unlike a soldier spreading bullets all over there place with a large machine gun, this can do it accurately.

RE: Meh
By Polynikes on 10/9/2007 6:07:30 PM , Rating: 3
I bet a lot of soldiers and Marines would tell you they're still pretty damn good at putting rounds on target accurately. :)

Being a former Marine infantryman, let me tell you the equivalent machinegun to the one that robot has, the SAW, is not hard to fire accurately.

RE: Meh
By feraltoad on 10/9/07, Rating: 0
RE: Meh
By RMSe17 on 10/10/2007 9:32:45 AM , Rating: 2
thats not cool.

RE: Meh
By feraltoad on 11/6/2007 3:29:32 AM , Rating: 2
No fans of Full Metal Jacket here I guess.

RE: Meh
By helios220 on 10/9/2007 2:15:49 PM , Rating: 3
Eliminating friendly fire is a good thing, but if it were me, and I was going to die on the battlefield, being "killed by armed robot" would be a pretty cool way to go.

You can always change your name to "Sarah Connor" and see how it goes for you.

RE: Meh
By DEVGRU on 10/9/2007 3:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but Sarah Conner was never actually killed by a machine, was she?

RE: Meh
By rtrski on 10/9/2007 3:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Several of them were, in the first movie. Just not the right one.

RE: Meh
By helios220 on 10/9/2007 3:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
The protagonist Sarah Connor was not, however there were several Sarah Connors that got smoked in the first Terminator. The Terminator took out all of the Sarah Connors in the phone book... or almost all.

RE: Meh
By murphyslabrat on 10/10/2007 2:14:47 PM , Rating: 2
What if she was killed by a robot in the future? It's been awhile since I saw "The Terminator" last, but I am pretty sure that the lover-boy in the first one said she died, right?

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