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Combat Robots Still Not That Smart

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  • Combat Robots Still Not That Smart

    The European Land Robot trials in Hammelburg, Germany, last week featured a lot of moments that looked like out-takes from the film Short Circuit (1986), such as a large robot from the University of Siegen, festooned with multiple cameras and sensors, whose only task was to follow a person walking around, but which repeatedly beeped and stopped and had to be restarted by its engineers.

    Impressive.

    The most promising entry was probably the MuCar-3, developed by the University of the Bundeswehr, the German military academy. It is an SUV outfitted with sensors and computers enabling it to follow another vehicle, stop when it stops, back up when it backs up. The likely use would be in cargo vehicles, enabling driverless vehicles in a convoy to reduce human exposure to mines and IEDs.

    Even the MuCar-3 has its limitations, however. It needs a human-driven vehicle to follow and, at least for now, it needs a back-up guidance system in case it gets confused, that back-up system being – you guessed it – a human driver. Of course, the need for a human driver in a robot vehicle designed to reduce human exposure to danger is an obvious limitation. As Lt. Gen. Werner Freers, the German army chief of staff observed, ” Maybe this is not the end of wisdom.”

    Right. Robots have a long way to go before they move from remotely piloted vehicles to genuine autonomous, or even semi-autonomous, systems.

    Here’s a link to a story in the Los Angeles Times about military robots.

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  • #2
    I doubt robots are really ever going to achieve fully autonomous status; much less replace humans on the battlefield as some Sci-fi geeks envision.
    "To be defeated and not submit, is victory; to be victorious and rest on one's laurels, is defeat."
    --Marshal Józef Piłsudski

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