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iRobot Demonstrates New Weaponized Robot

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-have-30-seconds-to-comply dept.

Robotics 188

An anonymous reader writes "According to this IEEE story, iRobot and the US military have released video showing a weaponized version of iRobot's Warrior robot. In the video, the Warrior is seen firing a weapon system called the APOBS (Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System), a grenade-filled line propelled by a rocket and stabilized by a drogue parachute. This system is used to clear minefields and obstructed roads. The video shows soldiers deploying a Warrior with the APOBS mounted on its back. The robot fires the device, which lands along a dirt road, exploding after a few seconds. A voice is then heard, 'Road clear; proceed forward.'"

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188 comments

Obvious questions... (3, Interesting)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419346)

How much does one unit cost, and is this actually scalable and affordable for nations where there are landmines? Most of these countries are third-world as the majority of landmines in first-world countries (e.g. Germany) was cleared years ago.

Re:Obvious questions... (2, Insightful)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419460)

It's probably not cost effective except for straight-line clearance operations (i.e., a road).

You wouldn't want to try and clear several acres of field with this system as it would totally destroy the field. The purpose built systems are better suited for mine clearing. There's a continuing effort underway for mine clearing systems with an eye to small cost and high effectiveness and safety.

More Than Cows (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419474)

These robots surely cost a lot more than running livestock across minefields to trigger the mines.

Re:More Than Cows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420126)

These robots surely cost a lot more than running livestock across minefields to trigger the mines.

Please tell me that I've missed some sarcasm here.

Re:More Than Cows (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420594)

Why? These robots cost far more than a cow or even a herd of cows.

If the issue is killing the cows via landmines, then perhaps a cheap robot that runs over mines to set them off can be built.

Re:More Than Cows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32421052)

Imagine a unit of soldiers carting around a herd of cattle in case of landmines. All those trucks that need to be driven around, refueled, maintained, etc.

Do you think feeding a herd of cattle is easier or cheaper than recharging a robot?

And how many uses do you think you'll really get out of that herd of cattle? Do you think they'll calmly walk across the minefield with explosions going off all around, and then return obediently to the truck? For every cow you lose to a mine, you'll lose dozens to stampede behavior.

Really, the only advantage you see in the robot is an ethical concern? I realize we're overwhelmingly city mice here on Slashdot, but you really need to think of a cow as something other than "where my burger came from".

Re:More Than Cows (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421094)

Why would you car them around?
In the case of a third world nation needing to clear fields of land mines, you would use local cattle.

I have been involved in the production of beef from cattle, they are extremely stupid animals.

Re:More Than Cows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32421060)

The goal is to come up with a re-usable tool for finding and disabling the mines.

You aren't going to find many farmers who want to give up what is arguably the most valuable thing they own. There's been some success with trained rats (yeah, rats) for locating mine.

There's a cool system created by Alford Technologies (explosives.net) that burns the mine faster than it can trigger and explode. It's relatively cheap, too. It can be deployed via packbot or manually.

Re:More Than Cows (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421254)

I could see rats doing that, as someone who has raised both animals rats are much smarter than cows.

Re:More Than Cows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32421332)

The robot is reusable (it launches rounds, instead of blowing itself up). Cows, not so much.

Re:More Than Cows (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420830)

Actually I wont be so sure. Cost of robot + cost of robot in terms of time/effort taken to transport (which is negligible) vs Cost of Cows (which is not negligible, if the the numbers of disposable cow required per unit time is high) + cost of cows in terms of time/effort required to transport (which is actually costly).

Seems to be pretty close.

Re:More Than Cows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420968)

Goats are cheaper.

Re:More Than Cows (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421104)

Goats cover much lesser ground than cows. So you will have to carry more goats than cows.

And in my previous post, I forgot the cost of retrieving the cows back vs retrieving the robots back.

Re:Obvious questions... (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419552)

I wouldn't expect it too be too expensive, when it comes to the cost of UAV's it usually comes down to specific type of weaponry mounted on it which increases the cost.

Things like missile fail-safes, ai based being more expensive and the very different forms of targeting and guidance systems out there, things like direct and top attack, etc ...

This one seems pretty simple, shoot in a straight line and deploy a parachute.

Too expensive. (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421036)

cheap plastic barrels + some water (to get enough weight) and roll them forward - if its down hill, even easier!
the "robot" can be some form of remote control car that rolls a few at a time... that is if you want to be fancy about it.

Re:Obvious questions... (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419584)

They'll be cheap. They'll build them in China. Now what that means when we really have to do something about North Korea or Taiwan is another matter.

Re:Obvious questions... (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419880)

And what do I do when they accident send one of these in my new roomba box....

"honey, Why is the vacuum setting fire to the couch?"

Re:Obvious questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32419816)

I would ask, how long it will take for these guys to get sued by Apple and their iCopyrights over the i on the iRobot name?

Re:Obvious questions... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419910)

How much does one unit cost, and is this actually scalable and affordable for nations where there are landmines? Most of these countries are third-world as the majority of landmines in first-world countries (e.g. Germany) was cleared years ago.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with your statement. There are third world countries that are actually well off enough. They aren't super powers like the states or anything, but they are still better off than what you probably mean as a developing nation - or something along those lines. Before the tsunami, I would have considered places like Thailand to be pretty well off for being a third world country. And Germany, contrary to popular belief, was a second-world country.

We need to come back to the history lesson that First World is Allies, Second World is Axis, and Third World is neutral. The First Second and Third world terminology came from allegiances during the second world war. It also happens to mirror that those participating happened to get a lot of industrial development, wars tend to do that.

So - where are the majority of landmines? Well, wherever the war is. I bet there are a ton in the middle east right now. I'd bet there are still a bunch in the Demilitarized zone seperating the Koreas, and possibly some around in Darfur.

So, whatever leader is capable of buying thousands of AK's to arm 14 year old boys to further his plans in Africa, or whatever tax money goes to fund American troops in the middle east, or however the middle eastern countries supply their own armed forces, or however North Korea is managing to test various military equipment, I -THINK- a robot like this might be affordable.

Re:Obvious questions... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420630)

Germany was first world, it is part of NATO. East Germany was second world. These terms were updated with the cold war.

Re:Obvious questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420170)

who cares? that was fucking awesome!

Re:Obvious questions... (2, Insightful)

careysub (976506) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420298)

How much does one unit cost, and is this actually scalable and affordable for nations where there are landmines? ...

It is pretty clear that this device is intended to support ground attack by a first world army against an adversary like Iraq (or some other country beginning with "I"?).

Think about its specs - it is a robotic device deploying an explosive system for instantly clearing a lane through a mine field. You need an instant lane if you launching a time-critical operation (i.e. an attack), and a robot to deploy it if you expect to get shot at - i.e. you are in combat.

A minefield clearing system for a third world country would probably be an armored flail system that can beat the earth of an entire field by methodically "mowing" it. This system would minimize collateral damage, be thorough, and inexpensive to operate (though the capital cost would be substantial).

This seems somewhat familiar (2, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419358)

I think you better do as he says, Mr. Kinney.

Re:This seems somewhat familiar (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420398)

You have ten seconds to comply.

Honest question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32419398)

Why do we stick a lowercase 'i' in front of everything technological nowadays? iRobot? What? That's like prefixing all food items with a Mc.

Re:Honest question (1)

gmurray (927668) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419498)

Actually, I think the formation of iRobot may predate Apple's use of the prefix, but I'm not sure about that. And, if I had to guess, its probably a reference to the Asimov book of short stories.

Re:Honest question (3, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419876)

The earliest live 'iRobot' trade mark was filed September 2002 [uspto.gov] .

There is one from Nov 1999 [uspto.gov] that is 'dead'. Both from MA, so I'm not sure if it's the same company.

The iMac was released in 1998, the iBook in 1999.

Re:Honest question (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420628)

The company was founded in 1990. Don't know why the TM was registered so late. Maybe because of Apple's iCraze, they decided to get something on file with the PTO.

Re:Honest question (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419672)

I'm guessing "iRobot" was easier to get a registered trademark on than "Robot". Finding a unique (non-generic, non-already trademarked) identifier for products is tricky, so having trendy pattern for modifying otherwise generic words is a boon to new businesses or new products.

Re:Honest question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420004)

And what happens when Apple want to start selling Robots? (Although presumably not for military operations)

Re:Honest question (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419828)

Samzenpus prolly thought he was submitting an article about Apple.

Thinking Jobs was releasing a new product that would clear all 3rd world countries of Windows based PC's.

Tag boomba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32419476)

Boom + roomba for the slow kids

Played like a bad hollywood movie (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419480)

I know that they were demonstrating a weapons system, but it just seemed like a really bad hollywood movie where they keep playing the same SFX explosion over and over again because they thought it was cool (plus they don't have any budget for doing something different and they need to fill some dead time)

On the other hand what is really novel about this? They attached a weapons system to a robot and manually drove the robot to the optimum location to fire the weapon. Am I missing something or is this just a slashvertisment targeted at DOD buyers?

Re:Played like a bad hollywood movie (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419540)

On the other hand what is really novel about this?

These are the folks that make your friendly little Roomba [irobot.com] ....

(Goes upstairs, checks Roomba again, considers removing battery)

Re:Played like a bad hollywood movie (2, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419890)

Or... you know... just don't give your roomba a grenade launcher.

Re:Played like a bad hollywood movie (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420142)

It asked for an Internet connection and a credit card on it's birthday. Glad I didn't given in.

Uppity little robot.

All hail the conquers! (2, Funny)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419482)

Well I for one welcome our new robotic overlords.

Granted the inevitable human rebellion will have a surprisingly easy time fighting these things, I mean just hide up a sufficiently steep slope and the apparently top heavy ting will tumble over backwards. Alternatively you could just walk away at a reasonably brisk pace.

And speaking of military robots, am I the only one who's creeped out by Big Dog [youtube.com] ? Looks like some sort of unholy union between a deer and a spider..

Re:All hail the conquers! (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419634)

And speaking of military robots, am I the only one who's creeped out by Big Dog? Looks like some sort of unholy union between a deer and a spider..

You can call it unholy if you want, but there was magic in the air that night. Who are you to judge true love?

Re:All hail the conquers! (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421088)

You can call it unholy if you want, but there was magic in the air that night. Who are you to judge true love?

"The love that dare not speak it's name." Or, more like it, "The love that cannot speak it's name."

Re:All hail the conquers! (2, Interesting)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419848)

The robot fires the device, which lands along a dirt road, exploding after a few seconds. A voice is then heard, 'Road clear; proceed forward.'"

      That's fine, as long as RoboCop goes first.

Re:All hail the conquers! (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419892)

Granted the inevitable human rebellion will have a surprisingly easy time fighting these things, I mean just hide up a sufficiently steep slope and the apparently top heavy ting will tumble over backwards.

If it's as smart as the Roomba (from the same company) I can see a huge increase in popularity used couches in Afghanistan and Iraq. Maybe some fake stair cases or virtual walls [amazon.com]

Roomba accessory (2, Funny)

kmahan (80459) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419532)

This would be great for my roomba when it runs into a really big mess. Or for its obstacle route planning. Instead of turning to go around the obstacle it could just remove the obstacle.

Re:Roomba accessory (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419948)

This would probably be the only robot on the market being able to clean my room... Come to think of it, it might just be time to burn the place down and rebuild...

Manual (1)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419676)

I don't see why the robot is needed. A soldier could walk to where the known unmined area ends and fire this thingie.

Re:Manual (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419788)

Since they already have the weapon, but not the robot, I'm figuring they've tried the human-fired approach and found something wanting. I'm not certain, but seeing as how landmines are not exclusively used to deny territory to the enemy while nobody is watching it, but rather as an obstacle that slows and stops the enemy at conveniently chosen areas, and knowing some of the problems our soldiers have had over there... I'm guessing there's a good reason for robots, which can probably be summed up in two words:

"Boom! Headshot!"

Re:Manual (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420106)

I'm figuring they've tried the human-fired approach and found something wanting

Like snipers?

Re:Manual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420842)

I'm figuring they've tried the human-fired approach and found something wanting

Like snipers?

That people only read the first line of a post and ignored the rest of it, specifically the part where they allude to snipers.

Oh no, wait, that was you.

Re:Manual (4, Insightful)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419952)

I don't see why the robot is needed. A soldier could walk to where the known unmined area ends and fire this thingie.

Perhaps it's clearing the way for a horde of other robots carrying anti-personnel weaponry? The military of the future may not need to put lives on the front-lines. I think we're seeing a glimpse of that with the air drones that are taking out terrorists via rockets.

Re:Manual (1, Interesting)

javilon (99157) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420786)

The military of the future may not need to put lives on the front-lines.

And that is the problem. If nobody comes back home dead, and if the war are fought outside your territory (they are called liberation wars this days), then a war is just a headline on the news for the people on the country deploying the robots.

That makes engaging in "liberation" wars a much more attractive position for your average politician, especially when you are inside an economic crisis and need some foreign enemy to control your population.

Eventually wars will be a tech show where the country with the biggest toys wins and takes it all. At least the non nuclear wars.

I am really sad saying this. But if I was a third world country with a lot of resources (they are the usual target of "liberation" wars) I would see nuclear weapons as the only chance to achieve real independence as I wouldn't be able to afford high tech defenses.

Re:Manual (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421198)

We have already reached that point. Why do you think Iran wants nukes so bad? They saw what happens when you don't have them.

Re:Manual (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421220)

The military of the future may not need to put lives on the front-lines.

There are a dozen different ways of delivering destruction in impersonal wholesale, via ships or missiles of one sort or another, catastrophes so widespread, so unselective that the war is over because that nation or planet has ceased to exist. What we do is entirely different. We make war as personal as a punch in the nose. We can be selective, applying precisely the required amount of pressure at the specified point at a designated time. We've never been told to go down and kill or capture all left-handed redheads in a particular area, but if they tell us to, we can. We will.
-Starship Troopers

Until we have the kind of robotics you see in Sci-Fi films,
you're going to need living breathing infantrymen on the ground.
And even then, we're going to have to rewrite a whole bunch of
laws and treaties that never envisioned robots instead of soldiers.

Re:Manual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420272)

> A soldier could walk to where the known unmined area ends and fire this thingie.

If you're so sure the area is unmined, you can go ahead and walk there. But if I were you, and my country was rich enough, I'd let the robot do it in case the unmined area isn't quite so unmined.

Re:Manual (1)

tohoward (78757) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420678)

I don't see why the robot is needed. A soldier could walk to where the known unmined area ends and fire this thingie.

It depends on the mine(s) and how they are triggered. It's quite possible for a mine "down the road" to trigger a series of mines back down the road/path when detonated.

I can't see the video (work BW block), but I assume they're moving the robot into position, at which point it fires a series of mine tripping explosives forward of it's position. If that's the case, the launch point could still be a mined location, even though the mine's fuse was further along the path. If a human was firing a similar weapon from the same place...one dead soldier, as opposed to a robot.

Re:Manual (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421084)

"A soldier could walk to where the known unmined area ends and fire this thingie."

Some folks have been known to rudely interrupt mine clearing by shooting at those clearing the mines.

Give them an iTarget instead of a trooper, that they may plink it and reveal themselves for some iPayback.

Great News: Better Weaponized Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32419690)

on vague invented "enemies" than paying for U.S.
infrastructure (ie. health care, roads, government inspection of FRAUDULENT corporations).

Yours In Ufa,
K. Trout

What was that? (1)

HumanEmulator (1062440) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419708)

If you listen carefully, just before you hear the guy say "Road Clear" I'm pretty sure you can hear the robot say "Your move creep."

Re:What was that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420134)

I thought it said "Your mother was a snowblower".

Re:What was that? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421174)

and if you pull the string on its back again it says "yeeeha, take that", "boom-shanka, mon" and "I want a pony".

Just what the military needs... (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419728)

...a device that runs around in circles shooting randomly.

Re:Just what the military needs... (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 3 years ago | (#32419954)

I dunno... I'm going to be nicer to my Roomba, now that I know about his cousin in the Army.

Though, seriously, I do love my Roomba, even though I've only had him a week. (I think it's a girl, actually, but my son wanted a boy.) How many consumer products come with a note saying "This device has an interface which we encourage you to hack around on until it's no longer recognizable as a vacuum cleaner"?

The only problem is that he pulls to the right, and I don't know if that's by design or if he's got a problem. After a successful first run through three rooms, he keeps running out of power trying to find his way home. I've heard the iRobot folks are very helpful, though, so I'll probably give them a call. I'll just resist the urge to ask something like, "Shall we play a game?" -- and if offered a choice, I'll go for a nice game of chess, not Global Thermonuclear War.

after it clears the obstacles (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32419860)

Also, after it breaches the obstacles, it helpfully vacuums up the resulting mess so following vehicles don't get a puncture.

Gee... (4, Funny)

umask077 (122989) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420242)

So I was happy with my Roomba and Scoomba. Now they have home defense products too. Wow. Do I have to buy the whole robot or can I just get the weapon mounts for my vacuum?

Humanity (0)

lemmis_86 (1135345) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420282)

Wait a minute... first you spend money on mines (whoever spends the money). Then you need this machine to clear the mines... stupidity anyone? Why not just - not - plant mines in the first place, that would be the cheapest option.

Re:Humanity (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420796)

Wait a minute... first you spend money on mines (whoever spends the money). Then you need this machine to clear the mines... stupidity anyone? Why not just - not - plant mines in the first place, that would be the cheapest option.

Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids; mines are for dictators.

Re:Humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420848)

Your level of stupidity is just so astounding and astronomical that I can't even come up with a humorous analogy to poke fun at it.

Re:Humanity (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420994)

That would require humanity to agree with itself. Landmines are one method of eliminating opposition. Clearing landmines is one way of...not being eliminated.

You are over-simplifying.

We're Obstacles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420320)

Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System

Nice to know that people are just considered to be obstacles in this system's scope :P

Re:We're Obstacles (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421170)

Nice to know that people are just considered to be obstacles in this system's scope :P

I think you're parsing that wrong. Think of it this way: it's a system for breaching anti-personnel obstacles such as mines, IEDs, razor wire etc.

Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420392)

That a company named iRobot would build a robot specifically designed to break the first law of robotics.

Re:Ironic (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420764)

It's not a robot. It's an RC car with a rocket launcher. The human controls it, so there is no violation of any law of robotics.

Not just for mine clearing (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420436)

It is my understanding that the APOBS device is also effective at creating a path through a maze of concertina wire.

Once all done (1)

IronTomRackham (1809216) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420484)

As a next step, a roomba comes in to sweep up the body parts of the insurgents/operators.

Bad idea (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420806)

Are you kidding? It'd have to do a random walk of the entire country, unless you put little blocker thingies around the area, and even then it would take forever unless your battlefield was 15x15 feet.

Much better to buy a Neato Robotics body parts cleaning robot, which actually only goes over the battlefield ONCE.

Re:Bad idea (1)

IronTomRackham (1809216) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421012)

Are you kidding? It'd have to do a random walk of the entire country, unless you put little blocker thingies around the area

They could market it as a "mine finding feature"

Re:Once all done (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420820)

As a next step, a roomba comes in to sweep up the body parts of the insurgents/operators.

...and use them for fuel.

Remote Controlled Car (2, Interesting)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420730)

This is a remote controlled car with a ridiculous rocket launcher on it. It costs $100k.

iRobot is making a mint sucking money out of the military and out of US taxpayers like me.

You could do this with a $60 RC car from radio shack and a lot of duct tape -- just rig the firing button to the horn. Buy one with big wheels.

For all the things we could be using actual robots for, this is pathetic, and a lot like a million-dollar fireworks show, circa Vietnam.

Re:Remote Controlled Car (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421142)

This is a remote controlled car with a ridiculous rocket launcher on it. It costs $100k.

Actually, it's a robot with a micro clusterbomb. But it's better than a cluster bomb because it's totally controllable, and it's a lot smaller and cheaper.

You could do this with a $60 RC car from radio shack and a lot of duct tape -- just rig the firing button to the horn. Buy one with big wheels.

You need more axes to control the weapon. You'd need at least a $500 RC car to have anything like reliability, and just one bullet hit would destroy it.

For all the things we could be using actual robots for, this is pathetic, and a lot like a million-dollar fireworks show, circa Vietnam.

It's a cool weapon, but not very exciting in terms of robot news. And by cool weapon I mean a great new way to kill people. Oh sure, it's for clearing roads, but it's for clearing roads so you can get to the next place where you're supposed to kill someone.

Damn Fucking Grey Hairs (2, Insightful)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420810)

Yay, lets invent something that we already have (mine line clearing device, aka MICLIC) and put it ona robot, so much better! How about the fucking old grey haired bastards that are too pussy to fix our current wars snap out of their cold war mindset and start investing in things more applicable to our current situation. Oh yeah, I'm a USMC Iraq vet.

Re:Damn Fucking Grey Hairs (2, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421296)

Oh really?

The MICLIC system consists of an M353 3-1/2 ton or M200A1 2-1/2 ton trailer (or M200 tracked trailer) chassis, a launcher assembly, an M147 firing kit, an M58A3 line charge and a 5-inch MK22 Mod 4 rocket. The line charge is 350 feet long and contains 5 pounds per linear foot of composition C-4 explosive.

I am sure you will want to set up that system to clear a road block, IED, etc. and risk taking fire.

I would prefer to stay out of the line of fire and use a much smaller unit mounted on a robot that can be deployed from cover.

The MICLIC is designed to be used by Engineer companies to clear paths through large mine fields. This unit is designed to be loaded aboard a HMMWV and taken out on patrol by squads.

You say you are an USMC Iraq vet, but exactly did you do that you can not see the differences between these two pieces of equipment and the value of this piece of equipment to front line troops on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Next-generation Bangalore Torpedo (2, Informative)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420840)

In WW2, soldiers used a device called a Bangalore Torpedo [wikipedia.org] or Bangalore Mine to clear obstacles - barbed wire, barriers, etc - without coming under fire. Basically, it was a long tube filled with TNT. Screw it together, push it along (from behind cover) and detonate to clear the area and make a safe path. We used them during the Normandy invasion, for example.

This robot version is, really, just the next-generation version of the Bangalore. You deploy the robot (which might be under fire, but the operator is safely out of the way) to the barrier, launch an obstacle clearing system, and detonate to clear the area and make a safe path.

the only thing missing (2, Insightful)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#32420844)

the only thing missing is SKYNET, but I'm sure that it's lurking around some corner or in some dark alley.

Call it the Boomba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32420856)

This will work well as long as it doesn't go over any dark soil (or carpet) Then it will let out a pityful tone and ask for it's cliff sensors to be cleaned.

Asimov (2, Insightful)

feeble11 (1779624) | more than 3 years ago | (#32421244)

I'm all for blowing sh*t up but there is some sad irony that a company named iRobot is developing a weaponized robot while the man who wrote "I, Robot" also wrote the three laws of robotics forbidding fictional robots from harming humans.
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