Photo: via Dvidshub
The new 510 PackBot, a favourite bomb disposal robot for military Explosive Ordnance Technicians, will be upgraded with a new 620 Amrel solid-state drive, and thus new functionality, John Breeden II of Government Computing News reports.Previously, a PackBot with a broken link would sit out on the battlefield, waiting for its operator.
But now, if the robot loses its link, it will “retrace” its steps until it has either returned to its starting point, or the link is restored. This keeps operators from having to approach, of all things, possible Improvised Explosive Devices in order to retrieve their bots.
The robot can also right itself if it “trips,” and it can navigate to preset coordinates even in “broken” terrain.
Breeden wrote, “This may seem like a small step, but robots need to learn to walk on their own before they can run. Eventually, and probably not too far in the future, military robots could be deployed to dispose of bombs or guard patrols on their own. It just takes programming to help them interpret and deal with various stimuli.”
Researchers have recently been trying to reduce the fingerprint of operators in drone and robotic functions on the battlefield. Scientists and engineers are implementing this sort of “fetch” game with drones as well, hoping to send the flying bots on missions with ony human monitoring, rather than piloting.
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