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$10M For Unmanned Aircraft That Can Perch Like a Bird

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the UAV-wanna-cracker dept.

The Military 176

coondoggie writes "Unmanned aircraft maker AeroVironment got an additional $5.4 million to further develop a diminutive aircraft that can fly into tight spaces undetected, perch and send live surveillance information to its handlers. Last Fall, AeroVironment, got $4.6 million initial funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the Stealthy, Persistent, Perch and Stare Air Vehicle System (SP2S), which is being built on the company's one-pound, 29-inch wingspan battery-powered Wasp unmanned system."

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Frost Piss?! (1)

FunkyRider (1128099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205703)

Frost Piss?! I want unmanned flying dinosaurs!

Re:Frost Piss?! (-1, Troll)

bigblacknigger (1440657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205735)

+----------+
|Lick the c|
|heese off |
|of Richard|
|Stallman's|
|drippling,|
|flaccid op|
|en-source |
|penis you |
|faggots.<3|
+----------+
    |  |
    |  |
  .\|.||/..

Re:Frost Piss?! (1)

FunkyRider (1128099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205993)

Are you insane? What does flying dinosaurs have anything to do with Linux server? You'd better put this sticker on your mom's fat stinky ass instead.

Re:Frost Piss?! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206007)

the 3 means you love faggots right?

Re:Frost Piss?! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206705)

Manned flying dinosaurs are SO much cooler. Vote for sky riders today! :D

How many dupes today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205705)

Wow there have been a lot of many month old dupes today.

I can see it now.. (5, Funny)

illumastorm (172101) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205707)

Deploy: Lazorbeak. Mission: Scout Terrorists.

Re:I can see it now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205811)

"Laserbeak"

Re:I can see it now.. (1)

illumastorm (172101) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205855)

Well, that was how I remember spelling it. Technically, we are both correct. So, meh.

Re:I can see it now.. (2, Informative)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206357)

Aye, both are correct [wikia.com] .

what else? (0)

Ryyuajnin (862754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205711)

does its tail pipe pucker like a birds?

More than meets the eye. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205713)

""Unmanned aircraft maker AeroVironment got an additional $5.4 million to further develop a diminutive aircraft that can fly into tight spaces undetected, perch and send live surveillance information to its handlers."

I'm reminded of the Transformer's "Lazerbeak".

Transformers did it first (5, Funny)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205715)

And their robot bird could turn into a cassette tape too. For easy playback, no less.

How awesome was that?

Re:Transformers did it first (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205823)

Yeah, but where is the Army going to get a Cassette Player these days?

Re:Transformers did it first (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205887)

That might be one way to keep your expensive playback device from being stolen. I mean, who would want one these days?

Re:Transformers did it first (1)

Yoozer (1055188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206405)

Perhaps they should start a campaign - "Home taping is killing terrorists" or something to get regular people interested in cassette players again.

Re:Transformers did it first (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207315)

eBay?

Re:Transformers did it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206001)

Yeah, Lazerbeak was the first thing that popped into my head before I even finished reading the summary!

Hawk's Fighter did it best (2, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206979)

Yeah, Lazerbeak was the first thing that popped into my head before I even finished reading the summary!

This definitely sounds like Lazerbeak, with the reporting to its handlers and all. BUT, in terms of cool ships that perch, there can be only one: Hawk's fighter, from Buck Rogers. That series had easily some of the coolest space tech ever, rivalling White Stars in B5 and BSG's Mk I Vipers (which were designed by the same guy). I loved that series, and BSG and all too, but Hawk's fighter (and that whole Hawk character concept) just blew me away as a kid.

I'm really surprised how hard it is to find example of his ship online. I'm sure the entire episodes are available somewhere, but this is the best page I can find:

http://www.tvacres.com/aliens_hawk.htm [tvacres.com]

http://www.tvacres.com/images/spacecraft_hawk_fighter4.jpg [tvacres.com]

Re:Transformers did it first (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206753)

Nowadays you'd need a separate transformer to be able to turn into a cassette player to play it back, good luck finding one elsewhere!

Something does amuse me about the fact an ultra-high tech. robot of the future would turn into a cassette of all things though.

Might as well have optimus prime turn into a horse and cart.

Re:Transformers did it first (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206845)

Nowadays you'd need a separate transformer to be able to turn into a cassette player to play it back, good luck finding one elsewhere!

Hold on now. When one has to transform to interface with the other, it's just adaptation. When both have to transform to interface in some unusual way, it's called a kink.

Re:Transformers did it first (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207153)

Nowadays you'd need a separate transformer to be able to turn into a cassette player to play it back

Soundwave. [wikipedia.org] Yeah, they had that covered.

Re:Transformers did it first (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207221)

you missed the steam punk transformers series then. congratulations.

Re:Transformers did it first (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206819)

And their robot bird could turn into a cassette tape too. For easy playback, no less.

That project would go much beyond the planned $10M.

An entire tape? at $650.000 per song in IP rights?

Quoth the SP2S (5, Funny)

physburn (1095481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205749)

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stealthy spy plane of the sci-fi days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door - Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door - Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Quoth the SP2S, "nevermore" and nothing more.

Ummm... (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205757)

at what point does the US military stop looking like a human defense force and start looking looking like alien invaders from a robot planet?

Re:Ummm... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205947)

at what point does the US military stop looking like a... defense force and start looking looking like... invaders... ?

Surely they still teach history in schools.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206369)

at that point, over there.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207549)

Take a look at the statistics in terms of the number of unmanned airplanes and ground vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. There are, literally, thousands of them. Right now, they are remotely piloted, but you can't tell that when one is driving around or flying over your house. And pretty soon, they won't be remotely piloted.

10 million? Cheap (0)

MobyTurbo (537363) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205765)

Ten million is not expensive for an aerospace contractor, there are some missiles parked under planes costing over 20 times 10 million that in the air force that are worth more than that each - and they are *disposable*.

Please don't exaggerate (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206041)

I was just going to ignore this but then I noticed people modding you up. Sure missiles are expensive but not THAT expensive. I remember reading that a Tomahawk cost about $1M, and it is a very sophisticated missile with inertial and GPS guidance, long distance jet engine, variable geometry airframe and rocket booster. I seriously doubt some missiles cost "over 20 times 10 million". Not even nukes (although they *might* be in the tens of millions).

If you're talking development costs, sure that could be very expensive. But then development costs are not "disposable".

Re:10 million? Cheap (3, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206079)

Twenty times 10 million is 200 million. A new F22 [wikipedia.org] is 137 million. I don't think there are any $200 million missiles, unless they are nuclear.

Re:10 million? Cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206495)

Nucular.

Re:10 million? Cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206085)

Yup B2s cost just under 1 Billion a pop, and a Nimitz class costs 4.5 Billion

Re:10 million? Cheap (1)

tychver (1293788) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206167)

The AGM-129, the most advanced nuclear equipped cruise missile the USA operates, has a unit cost of 4 million. Were you talking about development costs?

Helicopter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206579)

Ten million is not expensive for an aerospace contractor

...and just WTF is wrong with a helicopter?

You're not going to get near the speed/agility of a bird for $10M.
Far better to put grasping feet on a helo and be done with it.

Re:Helicopter (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206901)

Actually, I've seen some RC airplanes do some pretty amazing stunts, being able to flip back to face upwards and hover on their propeller for long periods. There's some videos on YouTube of that sort of thing. There's no reason fairly cheap kit couldn't be made to land using a similar technique.

$10million is quite a bit to make it land properly on it's tail, to add surveillance to it and make it a bit more stealthy.

It's not going to be anything super long range, or anything, but at $10mill I'm betting they're not expecting anything with the surveillance features and range of a Predator/Reaper or whatever.

How lifelike (4, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205785)

Will it drop bird poop on your surveillance target? I mean how suspicious would a bird be if it didn't do that?

Re:How lifelike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205797)

Yes! yes it will!

Only it wont be so easy to clean up!

As this bird craps out small incendiary or high explosive grenades!

90 shot 9mm cannon optional.

Re:How lifelike (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205871)

When I worked at Google, saw those birds flying over the campus all the time. They discourage the non-geeks from gawking at the uber-cool babes.

Re:How lifelike (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205951)

That actually has the potential to be a rather awkward issue, in the mid to long term, with small drones of this and similar flavors.

Sooner or later, we'll want these things to do more than watch and report. Trouble is, ordinary kinetic weapons don't scale down all that well to applications where size and weight are at a real premium(gun small enough to fit in your pocket, sure, gun small enough to fit in a one pound aircraft with reasonable endurance, not so much). The only mechanisms that do scale down are toxins and pathogens, which are what pretty much all dangerous animals of that scale and smaller use.

This is, of course, a problem; because chemical and biological weapons are almost certainly not a road we want to go down(even if you don't see using them as a problem, not disturbing the general norm of not using them is likely a good idea if only for your own sake); but they'll be the only thing that fits onboard, so it'll be that or nothing. I'm not overly confident that we'll choose wisely.

Re:How lifelike (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206029)

A few CCs of silicone would make a handy lethal weapon if delivered appropriately.

Re:How lifelike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206075)

Trouble is, ordinary kinetic weapons don't scale down all that well to applications where size and weight are at a real premium

Actually they do. Here's [wikipedia.org] a 105mm rifle mounted on a Jeep. Ordinarily weapons of that caliber involve more weight than a (classic US military) jeep can handle. Even lighter is the RPG; no carriage or combustion pressure. Just a lightweight aiming tube. More the point arming small UAVs has already been done [gizmag.com] , at least in prototype.

Re:How lifelike (4, Interesting)

Molochi (555357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206287)

To expand on this, recoiless weapons like the jeep mounted ones scale down even further. A gyrojet round would work very well on a lightweight stealthbot and give it the lethal force of an infantryman with a rifle.

Re:How lifelike (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206475)

To expand on this, recoiless weapons like the jeep mounted ones scale down even further. A gyrojet round would work very well on a lightweight stealthbot and give it the lethal force of an infantryman with a rifle.

But after it fires a round, it wouldn't be a "stealth" bot anymore - IIRC, Gyrojet [wikipedia.org] rounds are even louder than conventional firearms.

Re:How lifelike (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206833)

No they aren't anywhere near as loud as even a service pistol. In addtion the unavoidable crack of the projectile breaking the speed of sound occurs downrange.

Re:How lifelike (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206191)

Will it drop bird poop on your surveillance target? I mean how suspicious would a bird be if it didn't do that?

Yes, it'll leak battery acid, just like my @#*!& Dell laptop.
       

Re:How lifelike (2, Funny)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207175)

I hope it shits napalm, just for the coolness factor.

Re:How lifelike (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207377)

White phosphorus powder mixed into some inert aqueous gel would make delayed action incediary bird turds. I can't think of anything awesomer.

Re:How lifelike (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207551)

The bird in question perching in a tree right above your car? :o

Nah, man... I think it's a pretty awesome idea too. Provided you were able to create an appropriately resistant chamber within the bird to contain it.

i just got off the toilet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205801)

i shit out an obama.

plop!

Re:i just got off the toilet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206027)

Just shows you're a bigger asshole than he is.

Much more impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205809)

a "one-pound, 29-inch wingspan battery-powered Wasp MANNED system"

Now that would be amazing!

Slippery slope... (1)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205877)

to perching sharks >= )?!

2100 (3, Insightful)

aereinha (1462049) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205885)

One day unmanned aircraft will deliver pizza's to our door. Replacing delivery drivers that keep getting lost.

[verb] like a [animal] (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205919)

Upon reading the title, my first reaction was that there was a meeting that went something like

  • ... just send our spy planes to perch somewhere nearby and watch the terrorists.
  • Uh, sir, spy planes don't "perch".
  • Oh? Well, why not? I expect my spy planes to be able to perch. Like a bird. Somebody get on that.
  • Err... yes, sir!

In the future I expect robots that can

  • slither like a snake
  • prowl like a lion
  • fly like an eagle

Re:[verb] like a [animal] (0)

M0b1u5 (569472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205959)

--> Slither like snake: already done.

--> Prowl like lion: coming soon.

--> Fly like Eagle: been around for a century.

Re:[verb] like a [animal] (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28205989)

Wait, I know of plenty of machines that fly, but not by flapping wings/riding air currents.

Re:[verb] like a [animal] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206411)

As far as being able to ride updrafts and what not we've had RC ornithopters for a while, about as long as RC anything. My favorite was the Smithsonian's Pterosaur. I guess that would be a Pterosopter. Now you can buy RC controlled dragonfly toys

Re:[verb] like a [animal] (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207197)

They've got "flying like a dodo" down, it's only a few steps more to eagle level!

Re:[verb] like a [animal] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28207773)

Wait, I know of plenty of machines that fly, but not by flapping wings/riding air currents.

Didn't Air France test a prototype recently ?

Re:[verb] like a [animal] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28207455)

In the future I expect robots that can

  • slither like a snake
  • prowl like a lion
  • fly like an eagle

and dance like a hampster ?

Not man-rated? (2, Funny)

M0b1u5 (569472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28205955)

A 450 gram, 29-inch wing span, battery powered vehicle ISN'T MANNED???? WTF?

Sweet babby Jebus!

Re:Not man-rated? (1)

Tomfrh (719891) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206235)

I said, Get In, *click*

Re:Not man-rated? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206365)

How is babby Jesus formed?

How virgin get pragnent?

Re:Not man-rated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28207381)

She wasn't really a virgin, that's just what she told Joseph to get him to marry her.

Unmanned SP2S (1)

Hanyin (1301045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206541)

A 450 gram, 29-inch wing span, battery powered vehicle ISN'T MANNED???? WTF?

Sweet babby Jebus!

In order to maintain airspeed velocity, a manned SP2S would need to beat its wings 43 times every second, am I right?

In related news AeroVironment has announced that they will be dividing their SP2S project into two branches, one to follow more stationary targets and the other to track people traveling over large distances. The more stationary version will be known as the African Stealthy, Persistent, Perch and Stare Air Vehicle System (ASP2S) and its migratory cousin with be known as the European SP2S or ESP2S.

Re:Unmanned SP2S (2, Funny)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207467)

In order to maintain airspeed velocity, a manned SP2S would need to beat its wings 43 times every second, am I right?

Maybe. Is it carrying a coconut?

Took twitter a bit too seriously (0)

Myrcutio (1006333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206015)

I know twitter has been getting popular lately, but i think a $10m spyplane that perches is taking things a bit too literally.

Re:Took twitter a bit too seriously (1)

Hailth (1479371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206261)

@CIA the target is watching TV, looks like an old Price is Right.

@CIA we saw a cat jump out of a box, LOL!

@CIA his life is boring right now, appears to be twittering about it.

Re:Took twitter a bit too seriously (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206425)

He didn't say he wanted a spyplane that "perches", he said he wanted to "purchase" a spyplane!
Once the junior gets the order though, the big-pocketed war machinery lumbers into motion...

Stainless (2, Interesting)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206037)

Didn't the Stainless Steel Rat already use one?

Re:Stainless (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207521)

You could be right. But I'd really prefer an owl. (Bladerunner)

Power lines? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206045)

Could perch on a power line and recharge its batteries for round the clock operations. Scary.

Re:Power lines? (1)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206123)

Assuming it wouldn't get fried out by the voltage in the line before the transformer? I doubt it could balance on something as thin as a power line though, anyways.

Re:Power lines? (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206211)

It's not voltage that kills things, it's current. How you do you suppose non-cybernetic birds survive the experience?

You could probably leech some power from high-voltage AC lines with an induction loop, a rectifier, and a big-assed resistor.

Re:Power lines? (3, Informative)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206313)

It's not voltage that kills things, it's current. How you do you suppose non-cybernetic birds survive the experience?

Uh, by not carrying the current at all? Touch one powerline while not grounded or connected to any potential place for the charge on it to flow and nothing will happen, touch one while grounded and you're dead. Birds don't experience any current because there's no place for the current to flow.

You're right that it's the current that kills, but in this case the birds experience neither current nor voltage, so it's an irrelevant answer.

Re:Power lines? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206341)

It's not voltage that kills things, it's current.

Or more correctly, it's the difference in voltage that kills things. It doesn't matter if you touch a piece of wire at 3kv (relative to the ground), as long as the rest of you isn't touching the ground at the time. That's why birds can sit happily on a high voltage power line without problems (cancer causing radiation aside :). If there are two birds sitting on different wires, and the wires are at different voltages (eg different phases in a 3 phase circuit) and they touch wings (or even come close to touching for high enough voltages), then they both fry.

js107 (0, Flamebait)

js107 (1555689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206067)

Really liked your article.. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Sujja ------ FTP Client [ftpshell.com]

$10M up in smoke (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206181)

"Dad! You won't believe what I just caught with my BB-gun!"

Re:$10M up in smoke (1)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206263)

funny, I was thinking the same thing. I could take it out with a .22 cal. and set the Fed back 10million? Sign me up!

-Oz

Just wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206237)

until they combine this technology with camouflage technology.

African Swallow (1)

rhinokitty (962485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206337)

And it can post its surveillance reports to the Internet in under 140 characters. This bird will tweet!

Is it a bird? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206401)

Is it a plane?

No, it is a pork-mobile oink, oink, oink all the way.

Shades of Vulcan's Hammer (1)

Criceratops (981909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206409)


I just got done reading Philip Dick's Vulcan's Hammer, where a rogue AI starts manufacturing little flying spy robots. That perch.

Can I not read ONE sci-fi novel without someone trying to make it a hideous reality?

Maybe that's why Hollywood is pumping out the PKD films like there's no tomorrow... to prepare us for the pink mind-control lasers. And the flapples. I still don't know what an effing flapple is, and I have gobs of PKD novels and short stories sitting around my conapt.

Re:Shades of Vulcan's Hammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28206473)

Everything in science fiction with ev

Cloaking technology (1)

bagsta (1562275) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206637)

I believe it's not far away the day that such aircrafts would be undetected not only by radars but also by sight(like the cloaking technology of Romulans in Star Trek).

key words = "perch and grip technology"? (1)

idigitallDotCom (1396193) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206647)

Are the keywords here "Perch and grip" ? Don't we already have unmanned airborne spy hover vehicles? heck I'm sure I could build a mini-hot-air-balloon-with-steering-fans-type drone that transmits surveillance for under $1M. From what I saw on National Geographic channel, it'd be very easy to build a hot-air-balloon with "perch and grip" technology if we just emulate birds...

Why not a real bird? (2, Funny)

wlowe84 (614517) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206703)

Why can't they just train real birds to perch and randomly attach cameras or whatever to things. Swallows come to mind, I'd have to check. I don't remember if African or European would be best.

Re:Why not a real bird? (2, Funny)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207393)

And maybe they could carry this camera [f295.org] .

Re:Why not a real bird? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28207561)

The cameras would have to be disguised as coconuts so they could be gripped by the husk.

Military robots (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206815)

The robot war machines will be the next generation of weapons of mass destruction.

Soon we will see swarms of poisonous digital mosquitoes, mechanical snakes with nuclear warheads, which can enter the land unnoticed, robot-fish, which enters a lake via a small river and poisons the whole lake, and so on and so forth.

Let us note now how it all started.

War robots 2 (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28206899)

I would suggest to ban by an international law all military robots. While there are not so many of them yet. It would be more difficult and expensive when there are armies of millions military robots.

The definition is simple: no military equipment without a responsible human physically attached to it.

In the 50s it would have been much easier to ban nuclear weapons while there were only few of them around, not hundreds of thousand as it is now.

Re:War robots 2 (2, Informative)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207631)

There are thousands already out there, so this horse has left the barn. See, for example, the Raven [wikipedia.org] or Packbot [wikipedia.org] . Note the numbers already shipped (>8000 and >2000). No, they are not autonomous, but they definitely don't have a human physically attached. And they are getting more autonomous all the time.

While it might be a good idea, I don't think that the main proponent / user of the technology (U.S.) would agree to get rid of them. Too damn useful. And you are right that there will come the day that the US might regret its decision. On the other hand, there is a huge difference between nuclear weapons and military robots, in terms of the necessary parts. The parts for a robot just are not that complicated, and in 20 years I'm guessing that it will be trivial to piece together a sophisticated military robot from stuff you can get at local stores. It will still be hard to get nuclear grade material.

Suspect we have a Robert Sheckley fan... (1)

cowbutt (21077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207045)

Watchbird [mastersofscifi.com]

Keep perching! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28207117)

That's it...*eyeball*... Hold still.. *squeeze*... Hold still... *squeeze*... Keep perching... *breathe out*... *squeeze* *POP*... Gotcha!

YOU FAIL iT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28207305)

I can see it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28207443)

Iraqi 1- Hey man, have you noticed that bird just sitting there staring at us for the past hour?? I don't think it's even made a sound!

 

Iraqi 2- Yeah.. I've also been googleing to see when the last time a California Condor was even remotely close to here...

Well now that they know... (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207451)

Wouldn't information/technology like this be much more helpful if it was kept quiet? If enemies know what to look for, it makes it harder to go undetected... Before news like this broke, nobody would pay any attention to a bird fluttering around, but now people are going to be armed with bird hunting rifles all around sensitive areas. Ha.

As a sidenote, this is a general beef I have with things like this, not just the perching (but unmanned, who'da thought?) surveillance aircraft. I'm torn between my geeky desire to know about these things, and the thought that it'd probably be much more effective if it was kept under wraps.

Bad idea (1)

georgenh16 (1531259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28207569)

Perch, and get shot.

Keep flying, not as much of an easy target.
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