UGV & UGCV: The Rise of the Joystick Army

nrj

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Talks about some 16 Military Robot projects GOI undertaking. Headlines Today with Shiv Arror -

 
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nrj

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RiotBot – Armed For Close Combat


RiotBot comes with remotely controlled non lethal weapon, to effectively counter threats in high intensity, potentiality violent engagements.

The Spanish company TechnoRobot has introduced here the RiotBot – a new class of unmanned platform designed for intervention in riots, prison disturbances, or other civil disorders, where neutralization of specific elements is required by law enforcement agents, avoiding direct contact with the crowd. By operating with effective non lethal means to suppress, or deactivate a target without the presence of personnel, RiotBot can eliminate potential threats while minimizing escalation typically caused by police intervention.

The Riotbot platform comprises a six-wheel electrically driven automotive system, fitted with rechargeable lithium batteries to last for two hours of continuous operation. Turnaround tasks include recharging the weapon's compressed air tank, replacing batteries and reloading ammunition is performed in less than five minutes.

The riotbot weighs about 18 kg (40 pounds) and can travel at a speed of 20 km/h (12 mph), and its weapon are controlled from a game-style hand controller and portable console, monitoring and controlling the vehicle from a distance of one mile. The weapon mount employs a PepperBall TAC700 carbine customized and adapted for safe use on the robot. A video camera is attached to the mount, monitoring the weapon's aiming line in its field of view. RiotBot packs 450 PAVA balls of ammunition feeding at 700 rounds per minute. The carbine is designed with safety measures enabling it firing only by remote control, therefore preventing hostiles from turning it against the operators. The weapon can tilt at elevations of 30 degrees or depression of -15 degrees, and turn 150 degrees to each side. It is effective at distances from zero of 60 ft.

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nrj

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Smaller, More Powerful Snake Robot Demonstrated by Technion Lab

Researchers at the BioRobotics and BioMechanics Labortory (BRML) or Israel Technion are working on an improved, more robust and agile snake robot that will enhance the performance already demonstrated by an earlier BRML 'robotic snake' in 2009. Unlike the previous robot, that used a centralized processor to control the individual elements, the new model employs independent links built as common elements, each packing the logic and control processors, inertial sensors, servo actuators, power source, communications and sensors. The new robot will soon enter testing at the lab, and will eventually be tested by the Israel Defense Forces, as part of the Defense Research & Development Directorate's urban terrain robotics program.


Two of the 'Snake Robots' developed at the BioRobotic Biomechanics lab at the Technion, the first generation (tan colored) and larger, second generation seen in silvery color.

According to Lt Col. Gabi Dobresco, head of UGV and Advanced Concepts Branch at the Land Systems Division, DDR&D, the IDF is evaluating the snake robot as part of biologically-motivated structures dealing with challenging scenarios.

According to Dobresco, the robotic snake could be useful in urban and subterranean warfare, enabling the inspection and surveillance of sewage systems, narrow tunnels, or culverts, inaccessible by other systems. Another advantage of such robots is the fact that the entire robot acts as highly flexible arm having multiple Degrees Of Freedom (DOF).

The vision for snake robots, outlined by Dobresco includes highly maneuverable snake shaped robot that can maneuver through difficult terrain, 'sneak' stealthily inside buildings, use its sensors to scan their interiors. The robot will be able to carry disposable sensors that could be separated and left behind to monitor activity inside buildings. When suspicious activity inside buildings is detected, the stealthy robot will be able to identify specific targets while remain virtually unnoticed, and leave behind delayed activated explosive charges for employing lethal effect.

As primary sensors, the robot will be equipped with a thermal imager, miniature cameras or low-light TV sensors, and possibly laser scanners operating as laser radar (LADAR). As each of the links is embedded with cameras, the entire group provides redundant, instant multiple 360 degree view of the surrounding while mapping of indoor and subterranean areas by laser radar.

The new snake developed at BRML represents a major step in the DDR&D direction. Unlike the previous snake having a single DOF for each link, requiring 16 links to form sufficient flexibility and maneuverability, each of the new robot links has two joints, providing 2 DOF per link, hence, the number of links per 'snake robot' can be reduced to eight. The motors embedded in the new design have significantly higher moment /weight ratio. Each link is equipped with its own inertial system, reporting its relative position (to other elements), enabling the automatic motion and maneuver control to determine the position of the entire robot, and determine the next move to bring the robot closer to its objective, through difficult terrain and along the movement path selected for movement.

This 7kg prototype uses elements made of aluminum to meet the level of ruggedness required for field operation. However, for a production models Technion researchers expect the weight to drop by half, below four kg, as much of the aluminum parts with durable composite materials.

BRML displayed the new robot today at the Israeli Conference on Robotics (ICR) held today in Herzelia.

The video below depicts he first generation snake robot developed at the Technion lab.


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nrj

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CROWS = Videogame + Vehicle + Real Guns

Most military vehicles can mount some sort of weapon, and even small protected vehicles like up-armored Hummers have top mounts. Manning them can be hazardous, however, as the story behind the Chavis Turret illustrates. Gunners are especially exposed to enemy sniper fire and counter-fire in urban environments, which figure prominently in current and expected war scenarios.

In response, larger armored vehicles have begun using Remote Weapon Systems (RWS), consisting of a gun and sensors that sit on top of the vehicle. These systems are controlled from inside via joystick and screen, and all ammunition, sensors, etc. are part of the topside assembly. The USA's Common Remotely-Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) brings those capabilities to smaller vehicles, like up-armored Hummers or blast-resistant MRAPs. CROWS orders had traditionally been filled by Recon/Optical Inc., but a major "CROWS-II" framework agreement with Kongsberg in 2007 changed that landscape.


CROWS in Afganistan

The CROWS System

This RWS approach does reduce situational awareness in many instances, thanks to a narrower field of view and fewer audio cues. In exchange, however, RWS systems offer full in-hull protection for the crew, much better fire-on-the-move capability, and the ability to use the RWS' advanced sensors in night or obscurement scenarios. RWS have become extremely popular in recent years; major competitors in this space now include BAE (LEMUR), Elbit Systems (ORCWS), Kongsberg (Protector), RAFAEL (RCWS and Samson families), Recon Optical (Raven), and Thales (SWARM).

CROWS is versatile and modular. It can mount weapons such as the M2 HB .50-cal Machine Gun, Mk19 40-mm Automatic Grenade Machine Gun, M240B 7.62-mm MG(Machine Gun) and M249 5.56-mm Squad Automatic Weapon. The system's sensor unit includes a daylight video camera with digital video processing capabilities, a thermal imager for night operations, and an eyesafe laser rangefinder. It is furnished with a fully integrated fire control system that provides ballistic correction, and offers a 2-axis stabilized (azimuth and elevation) gunner-operated weapon system, that corrects for vehicle movement. The Recon/Optical mount is capable of continuous 360 degree azimuth rotation and -20 to +60 degree elevation; the Kongsberg mount shares these abilities, with a maximum slew rate of 100 degrees/second and a topside weight under 350 pounds.

The system's control group, which mounts inside the vehicle, is the gunner interface allowing operation within the vehicle's protective shell. Its main components include a display unit, Switch Panel Unit (SPU), and hand controller (joystick). The control group provides full remote control of the weapon system via on-screen menus presented on the display, and by the switches on the SPU and joystick.



The CROWS system has received excellent reviews from US troops in Iraq – and if this sounds like a video-game to you, you're in good company.

The US Army worked with game developers to put a CROWS module and mission sets into the new version of the hit Pentagon-sponsored videogame/ recruiting tool/ preparation tool "America's Army." That would certainly cut the time required to train new recruits. Indeed, the additional levels of proficiency possible through such approaches will act as another incentive for countries to equip their vehicles with RWS systems, instead of traditional gunner mounts.

In the US military, CROWS systems currently equip the M1114 up-armored HMMWVs (Armored Scouts/Military Police), and M1116 up-armored HMMWVs (U.S. Air Force); the M93A1P1 nuclear, biological, chemical reconnaissance vehicle, scout vehicle; and some of Textron's M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicles (Military Police), which also have their own armored turrets.

Feb 11/11: Kongsberg Defence in Kongsberg, Norway receives a $120.4 million firm-fixed-price time-and-materials contract that raises the maximum quantity of CROWS turrets from 10,349 units to 11,690 units.

Work will be performed in Johnstown, PA, with an estimated completion date of Aug 21/12. The original bid was solicited through the Internet, with 3 bids received by U.S. Army Contracting Command in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ (W15QKN-07-D-0018).




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nrj

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Headless, Humanoid Robot Preps for Army Duty

Sauntering toward you like a mechanized zombie is the Army's newest recruit: a robot with a blinking red light where its head should be.


That's the PETMAN, the latest creation of Boston Dynamics, the robotics shop best known for its eerily lifelike BigDog, a quadrupedal robot that wants to carry troops' gear. The PETMAN, in development for years, is built like a human being, walks autonomously on two legs while pumping its arms like a person, and resists efforts by Boston Dynamics engineers to push it over.



As recently as 2009, the PETMAN — or Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin — was little more than a circuit board connected to hydraulics that terminated in mannequin feet. Now it weighs 180 pounds, looks like the Terminator with the skin burned off, walks much faster than any non-28 Days Later zombie and can do a push-up. In the new video above, it also kind of looks like it can perform the Super Bowl Shuffle.


PETMAN isn't supposed to be a robo-mule. Boston Dynamics sells it as a way to "simulate how a soldier stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions," including wearing heavy chemical weapons gear. Lest anyone think the Terminator comparison is far-fetched, the company assures that PETMAN's ersatz "human physiology" means it will be "sweating when necessary." A headless robot that sweats.



That points to a benign path for the robo-zombie. A robotic simulation of human physiological conditions — with parts that "mov[e] dynamically like a real person," in the company phrase — could open the door to new innovations in prosthetics. Darpa already has a big push to introduce subtle neural sensations into prosthetic limbs for the most realistic feel possible. The PETMAN might be a boon to that effort.


Of course, the PETMAN could use a prosthesis of its own, since it still doesn't have a head. Even the Octavia robot developed for the Navy has a cherubic face built out of white plastic. The PETMAN's remorseless flashing red light atop its shoulders is anything but soothing. Which points to another potential use for the robot: scaring the hell out of an enemy.

Video: Headless, Humanoid Robot Preps for Army Duty | Danger Room | Wired.com
 
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W.G.Ewald

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Think of the money saved if there were international arms limitation agreements to keep such weaponry at say, 1/8 scale of current systems.
 

asianobserve

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Not only savings, I am one of those who believe that we are toying with really dangerous stuff in inducting robots into military service. As self-learning computers gain maturity robots are also gaining autonomy and potentially with this development, humans will get less control over them. There must be an international agreement on the limits of the robots that can be sent to war. And there must always be a man in the loop to override or shit down the system.

Then interntaional law and laws on war should be amended to reflect/include these new technology. Who is responsible in case an autonomous robot runs amuck and indiscriminately start killing people?
 

W.G.Ewald

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Not only savings, I am one of those who believe that we are toying with really dangerous stuff in inducting robots into military service. As self-learning computers gain maturity robots are also gaining autonomy and potentially with this development, humans will get less control over them. There must be an international agreement on the limits of the robots that can be sent to war. And there must always be a man in the loop to override or shit down the system.

Then interntaional law and laws on war should be amended to reflect/include these new technology. Who is responsible in case an autonomous robot runs amuck and indiscriminately start killing people?
I'll be bahk.

The Terminator (1984) - IMDb
 

Damian

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Fortunetly robots never will replace humans nor human operated vehicles. Because of many reasons. And fully autonomous robots are out of armed forces interests.

However robots can be good support for soldiers and manned vehicles, for reccon or send to hot zones for force reccon and as decoys... expensive decoys. ;)

Besides this, it is really more easy to manouver manned tank with crew and vision blocks + hatches that if needed can be opened, that vehicle with cameras only... it is much easier to use aerial robots than land ones.
 

asianobserve

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Fortunetly robots never will replace humans nor human operated vehicles. Because of many reasons. And fully autonomous robots are out of armed forces interests.

However robots can be good support for soldiers and manned vehicles, for reccon or send to hot zones for force reccon and as decoys... expensive decoys. ;)

Besides this, it is really more easy to manouver manned tank with crew and vision blocks + hatches that if needed can be opened, that vehicle with cameras only... it is much easier to use aerial robots than land ones.

Give it another 50 years and you'll be blown away. 8)
 

Kunal Biswas

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Lockheed Martin - Armed Robotic Vehicle Assault Light (MULE) At AUSVI 2010

[h=1]Lockheed Martin - Armed Robotic Vehicle Assault Light (MULE) At AUSVI 2010[/h]
 
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agentperry

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bots can only assist and not fight a direct war. there is a limitation in the utility of bots in battlefield. one cannot rely completely on the robots for getting into the house and freeing hostages. one glitch in software or sensor and instead of terrorists/enemy hostages are roasted. moreover final assault and plunder even in rise of nation is done by ground troops.

robots can do wonders in intel gathering- drones like harop, they can deploy missile and artillery in far away dangerous regions thru land or sea- eg N/A. but they can never replace a man in army uniform
 

sayareakd

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bots can only assist and not fight a direct war. there is a limitation in the utility of bots in battlefield. one cannot rely completely on the robots for getting into the house and freeing hostages. one glitch in software or sensor and instead of terrorists/enemy hostages are roasted. moreover final assault and plunder even in rise of nation is done by ground troops.

robots can do wonders in intel gathering- drones like harop, they can deploy missile and artillery in far away dangerous regions thru land or sea- eg N/A. but they can never replace a man in army uniform
they can take out heavily armed terrorists in urban area, not only that but vehicles with remote weapon station is good for CT and urban combat. These are not autonomous, they are remotely controlled.
 

agentperry

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they can take out heavily armed terrorists in urban area, not only that but vehicles with remote weapon station is good for CT and urban combat. These are not autonomous, they are remotely controlled.
nothing can match human capability and flexibility and not to mention on the spot use of BRAIN.
 

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