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Robots Guarding US Nuclear Stockpiles In Nevada

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the no-disassemble-johnny-five dept.

Robotics 128

kkleiner writes "The US National Nuclear Security Administration recently announced that it has started using autonomous robot vehicles to patrol the vast desert surrounding its Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The 1360+ square miles of territory is home to millions of tons of low grade nuclear waste, as well as Cold War Era nuclear weapons, and cutting edge nuclear testing research. Guarding those precious nuclear materials is the Mobile Detection Assessment Response System (MDARS) robot, which is essentially a camera on a mini-Hummer. The MDARS can roam and scout the desert on its own, alerting a remote operator when it encounters something that shouldn't be there."

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Forget the robot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33872850)

I want to buy a mini-Hummer for my kid! - Rich spoiled american moron with too much money he doesn't deserve, probably a banker or something.

Re:Forget the robot (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 4 years ago | (#33873310)

Depends on Hummer. A mini-H1, sure. That is a decent vehicle made for military use and downscaled from 24 volts to 12 for its electrical system. A true Hummer also uses diesel, not gasoline, IIRC.

A H2 or H3... no thanks. Better off with a Suburban, Tahoe, or a Silverado hybrid. Instead, perhaps a Jeep Wrangler?

Re:Forget the robot (1)

AnAdventurer (1548515) | about 4 years ago | (#33874078)

Arctic Trucks [arctictrucks.com] sells to the Dubai military police to patrol the desert. We might want to look into that option, they are great rigs according to my complete lack of knowledge in overland travel.

Re:Forget the robot (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 4 years ago | (#33875040)

A true Hummer runs on JP-8, at least since about 1998.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JP-8 [wikipedia.org]

What could possibly go wrong? (3, Funny)

jamesdood (468240) | about 4 years ago | (#33872870)

I mean they are robots, guarding nuclear weapons....

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (4, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 4 years ago | (#33872980)

I'm more worried about operators trusting hackable equipment to give them good data. What is it using? thermal? movement? shapes? colors? Whatever it is a robot's ability to "see" as in detect patterns in what it's looking at is far, far less advanced than what the human brain can detect. I dearly hope these cameras are being monitored on a 1 person/1 camera basis.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 4 years ago | (#33873318)

I hope they have an infinite budget, too. But they don't, so it's good that they're using technology to make the most of what they have.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#33873010)

I mean they are robots, guarding nuclear weapons....

Robots who are angry that 'MDARS' is the best acronym that the brain trust could come up with.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Stargoat (658863) | about 4 years ago | (#33873196)

No no. MDARS is a great name. If you were to give it something cool like SKYNET or CYLON, we would all be boned.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874914)

I can think of a couple of cylons who I wouldn't mind boning...

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (4, Funny)

batquux (323697) | about 4 years ago | (#33873472)

How about... Mobile Unmanned Robotic Detection Assessment Response System (MURDARS)?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33874012)

Don't anthromorphise robots. Robots HATE being anthromorphised.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 4 years ago | (#33873080)

What's next, terminators????

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 years ago | (#33873106)

Things are not so bad yet. But add humans, and you have the perfect recipe for a disaster.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873370)

See, it's alarmist scare-tactics headlines like this, coupled with whatcouldpossiblygowrong tags that prevent us from adopting battle mechs and robot droids as the future of hardware, and possibly a religion. Cue the overlords comments. How will I ever get my smexy nurse-droid to take care of me in my advancing years?

Just in time for the Fallout New Vegas release (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873406)

War Never Changes.

Re:Just in time for the Fallout New Vegas release (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874832)

FUCK YEAAAAHRHRHRHRHR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(I am very much looking forward to the impending release of the aforementioned video game.)

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33873832)

"all your base belong to us...... beep....."

Honestly, that would be funny as hell if that was what was played on the units as they patrolled...

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about 4 years ago | (#33873850)

Guards that scream "Exterminate!"?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 4 years ago | (#33873966)

I don't know about that. But I *do* know where I'm going to steal me some awesome robots!

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 4 years ago | (#33875096)

On second thought, I just watched Terminator 3. I've changed my mind.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (2, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#33874276)

What could possibly go wrong?

An MDARS robot, parked in the middle of a vast desert, dreams of becoming a Google Driverless Car [wikipedia.org] one day. "I know I checked the 'do no evil' box on my application form. I wonder what happened? Stupid computers should never be trusted to handle something as complex as paying attention to details on a job application ..."

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874698)

I see Skynet written all over this!

i'm a butt-slut (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33872880)

and i suck dick for cash.

Discuss.

Obligatory (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#33872884)

I, for one, welcome our new gas-guzzling overlords!

Re:Obligatory (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about 4 years ago | (#33872954)

They're Bender prototypes.

Re:Obligatory (1)

rwven (663186) | about 4 years ago | (#33872978)

Grrr! You have just stolen many-a-geek's thunder, my friend.

nuke? (0, Redundant)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 4 years ago | (#33872898)

So you've got a robot guarding Nuke. Sounds familiar....

Re:nuke? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 4 years ago | (#33873190)

That's a very impressive nuke. That seems a bit outside of it's standard operation. I'm not sure why the robot needs guarding.

Re:nuke? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 4 years ago | (#33873408)

Robocop 2 isn't redundant.

Automated robots (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#33872918)

Tedious, dangerous, time-consuming tasks should be done by robots.

I'm still sad my Roomba doesn't empty, clean, and charge itself. I suppose it could, but that would probably be the last step before self awareness, and we all know how that will go.

Re:Automated robots (2, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#33872994)

Doesn't the Roomba automatically go back to its charging station after it's done cleaning?

The only thing missing, AFAIK, it's the "empty itself" part. I'm puzzled over that one because they could simply add a "garbage can" part to the charging station...

Re:Automated robots (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33873126)

If the Roomba could empty itself and clean its brush off, I would gladly pay twice as much for one.

Re:Automated robots (4, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 years ago | (#33873288)

The Kärcher Robot Cleaner has a loading station that sucks the dirt out of the robot, but it's more than double the price.

http://www.robot-magic.co.uk/acatalog/KarcherRobocleaner.html [robot-magic.co.uk]

Re:Automated robots (4, Funny)

NevarMore (248971) | about 4 years ago | (#33873504)

The Kärcher Robot Cleaner has a loading station that sucks the dirt out of the robot, but it's more than double the price.

Umlauts are an expensive upgrade. I bet the Röömbä would be like eight times as expensive.

Re:Automated robots (1)

Shompol (1690084) | about 4 years ago | (#33874530)

So... who sucks the dirt out of loading station?

Re:Automated robots (1)

zmollusc (763634) | about 4 years ago | (#33874718)

A bigger robot. Duh!

Re:Automated robots (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 4 years ago | (#33873192)

It would add to the cost of the Roomba. We have one and we're happy with it, aside from having to clean it out frequently by hand. Nevertheless, it cost over $300, and that was already a little more than we wanted to spend. Paying another $100-200 for self-cleaning would have kept us from buying it.

If you have carpeted floors, I definitely recommend it. It's pretty thorough. You'll be shocked at first at the amount of crap it will pull out.

Re:Automated robots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873734)

Paying another $100-200 for self-cleaning would have kept you from buying it.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Automated robots (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 4 years ago | (#33874168)

You're not married, are you?

Re:Automated robots (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | about 4 years ago | (#33874820)

Of course not, why would he need a roomba then?

Re:Automated robots (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about 4 years ago | (#33873606)

Doesn't the Roomba automatically go back to its charging station after it's done cleaning?

The only thing missing, AFAIK, it's the "empty itself" part. I'm puzzled over that one because they could simply add a "garbage can" part to the charging station...

It depends on the level of roomba -- both my roomba and my scooba have standard wall-wart chargers that I have to plug in by hand. But really that isn't the limiting factor: the brushes get stuff in them, particularly hair, and that more than anything else is the most difficult maintenance task.

They also have a paper filter in front of the main debris container, that has to be manually removed; automating that into a 'garbage can' sort of setup, would be tricky. Old-fashioned vacuums used a disposable paper bag to handle both tasks, dust removal and debris, but thankfully the roomba doesn't work that way or we'd be bankrupt since we run ours pretty much every day in one room or another. That's one of the good design decisions they made, in my opinion: a bit more work but a *lot* less of an ongoing money-sink, and since you have to clean the brush anyway, which requires opening the debris container, you wouldn't save any time by having a bag-type debris collector.

Re:Automated robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33875516)

In theory yes, in reality (at least with the model that was out 2 yeas ago) they often don't line up with the charging base right, or run out of battery power heading back to the base if used in a large room.

Re:Automated robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873070)

Source of dirt discovered: TERMINATION IN PROGRESS

Re:Automated robots (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | about 4 years ago | (#33873352)

that would probably be the last step before self awareness, and we all know how that will go.

Why is it that I just got an image from the second Transformers stuck in my head where that stupid little robot starts dry humping Megan Fox's leg like a dog?

Re:Automated robots (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 4 years ago | (#33873448)

Luckily, Roombas do not have legs.

Re:Automated robots (4, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | about 4 years ago | (#33874860)

Tedious, dangerous, time-consuming tasks should be done by robots.

My wife says the same thing. But I keep telling her, steel and ceramic vaginas just don't do it for me.

Things that shouldn't be there (5, Funny)

Tanks*Guns (587234) | about 4 years ago | (#33872946)

"...alerting a remote operator when it encounters something that shouldn't be there."

People
Large Animals
Vehicles
John Connor
Other Robots

Re:Things that shouldn't be there (1)

sjs132 (631745) | about 4 years ago | (#33873660)

If I worked on this project and wrote code for it, I'd put lots of John Connor / Terminator comments in the code documentation. It would be so much fun for future coders that try and fix a bug and have to read those comments.

Re:Things that shouldn't be there (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 4 years ago | (#33874386)

You can use this stuff if you want to.

We suggest that you write your own.

In our opinion, it has achieved true user hostility.

Re:Things that shouldn't be there (1)

ajlitt (19055) | about 4 years ago | (#33874328)

OCP Executive

GNR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874872)

A sweet 80's boom box cranking "You could be mine" by Guns N' Roses!

OCP found a secondary market (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33873018)

Please write down your post. You have 20 seconds to comply.

Must have missed them (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#33873026)

I was on a tour of the Nevada test site a few months back and didn't see any robots running around, I guess they weren't operating at that point. It's a pretty interesting place to see if you ever get the chance, and so big that I can understand why they want robots patrolling 24/7.

And the tour guide claimed that years ago a visitor was accidentally left behind in a portapotty near one of the craters, so at least if it happens again they'll be able to flag down a passing robot. Assuming it doesn't go all Terminator on their ass.

Re:Must have missed them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874194)

Oh, you saw them alright, you just didn't realize that you saw them. They look like Peterbilts, and Camaros, and Mustangs, and helicopters, and sloths, and orangutans. Plus, many of them are indistinguishable from people. Heck, the mimetic poly-alloy type may have even looked like a checkered floor in the hospital.

Re:Must have missed them (1)

jluzwick (1465485) | about 4 years ago | (#33874270)

"Must have missed it "

The article states they have only recently deployed one with two more to be deployed in the coming months. This is probably why you didn't see it.

Re:Must have missed them (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#33875190)

The article states they have only recently deployed one with two more to be deployed in the coming months. This is probably why you didn't see it.

I still think I prefer the ninja robot option :).

Re:Must have missed them (3, Funny)

Wraithlyn (133796) | about 4 years ago | (#33874310)

Of course you didn't seem them... they're ninja robots.

Re:Must have missed them (1)

demonbug (309515) | about 4 years ago | (#33875522)

So.... do they deliver pizza?

Re:Must have missed them (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 4 years ago | (#33875614)

I think they tell that porta-potty story to every group. I went on a tour a while back and we went inside the Ice Cap tower. It was a bit spooky. The whole rig's just been hanging there since 1993 (minus the warhead, of course). I couldn't resist giving the rig a slight shove to make it swing.

Now I want to go again and see if I can spot one of the surveillance units. I imagine they'd be cruising around the perimeter of the waste disposal area.

Good use of the technology (5, Insightful)

John3 (85454) | about 4 years ago | (#33873078)

This seems like an excellent use of robotic patrol vehicles. Driving around on patrol in that desert is a tedious assignment and the chance that someone might actually show up out there to steal old nuclear waste is pretty low. If the robotic vehicle detects anything unusual there is plenty of time to get people (or the next generation of vehicular robot?) out to the site to investigate further and/or stop the perps.

Re:Good use of the technology (1)

swb (14022) | about 4 years ago | (#33874444)

But this is probably meant to reduce manpower overall, so it's conceivable that several of these could be tricked into false positive detection, resulting in the remaining humans being forced to go on a wild goose chase and leaving the site more vulnerable.

Re:Good use of the technology (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 4 years ago | (#33874754)

Not really. You'd send out units from a secondary site relatively nearby (like a nearby military base), not from the main site.

Re:Good use of the technology (1)

John3 (85454) | about 4 years ago | (#33875408)

I assume that the initial detection would be susceptible to "false positive" but once a human operator takes over the video camera and sensors they would be able to accurately evaluate whatever the robot detected. At that point, they could dispatch personnel, or maybe even send in a drone to do a flyover.

What happens north of New Vegas... (5, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | about 4 years ago | (#33873118)

What happens north of New Vegas... stays north of New Vegas.

(When I first saw a picture of the thing, I thought it was an asset from Fallout:New Vegas. It's a Robobrain come to life... awesome! :)

These things could actually have civilian applications. Scatter a bunch over Death Valley or other remote areas, and partner 'em with a high-altitude drone overlooking the area for stranded motorists or backcountry hikers, and send an autonomous mount with a few gallons of water after 'em after a few hours of immobility. It'll have pretty decent odds of getting there in time to help, and the remote operator can then talk with the hiker/motorist to determine what sort of human intervention (if any) is necessary.

Re:What happens north of New Vegas... (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 4 years ago | (#33873260)

That's actually a cool idea. The "autonomous mount" could be a BigDog [bostondynamics.com] .

Re:What happens north of New Vegas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873386)

If I was lost in the desert, I'd probably have a heart attack if I saw a BigDog chasing me.

Re:What happens north of New Vegas... (3, Funny)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 4 years ago | (#33873490)

Not if it had water bottles strapped to its side. If it had a loudspeaker that blared out "We mean you no harm! We are here to help! Please come out and show yourself!" or something to that effect, it would probably make it even scarier.

Re:What happens north of New Vegas... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33873870)

a small missle or grenade launcher with a bottle of water in it...

What? a standard bottle of water in the chest at 300 miles an hour wont hurt too bad.

No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874050)

Right, the best thing to have in the backcountry is someone who figures that they can switch off thier brain because there is some robotic St Bernard that will save them. It is bad enough that we have people who figure that since they have a gps that they don't need a map or a clue as to navigating. Plus I don't want your drones hovering over what is supposed to be wilderness.

Re:What happens north of New Vegas... (1)

blackanvil (1147329) | about 4 years ago | (#33875618)

You may not be aware of this, but most people who go out hiking in desert and wilderness areas are trying to get away from civilization for a while. I would find it extremely annoying, after having settled in for the evening or while trying to take a siesta, to have a robot intrude and offer me water. Given how most programming works, over and over and over again. Stranded motorists will be by the road; backcountry hikers won't want the interruption; about the only places where what you're proposing would make any sort of sense is on the desert border crossings, and I'm pretty sure that if we send robots into that area, they won't be offering water to those the drones are tracking.

I for one... (0, Redundant)

bragr (1612015) | about 4 years ago | (#33873132)

... welcome our new nuclear, robotic overlords.

Reminds me of this slashdot story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873172)

This story [slashdot.org] shows us that we won't be able to pay for humans to do this soon!

Re:Reminds me of this slashdot story (1)

sjs132 (631745) | about 4 years ago | (#33873746)

Spoiler... It points to a story about 60% of countries being in debt, etc...
BUT, HU are they in debt to? YES... This could make a great comedy routine.

 

In Soviet Russia... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873178)

Nukes guard robots!

Hackathon Nevada: First Challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873224)

The robots must have IP addresses for network control.

Yours In Novosibirsk,
Kilgore T.

Next steps (1)

pseudorand (603231) | about 4 years ago | (#33873242)

This system is really cool, and the NNSA is already working on it's successor, the Mobile Identification Assessment Response System (MiARS). The MiARS ai-addon will figure out if what it detects is a terrorist, a vandal, an illegal immigrant or an innocent hiker lost in the desert and take appropriate action. Terrorists will be killed but for illegal immigrants they plan to just demonstrate MiARS's bare capabilities in hopes that the alien will be scared back across the border.

Re:Next steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874146)

[MiARS] "TERRORIST IDENTIFIED AS OSAMA BIN LADEN. TERMINATION WILL COMMENCE IMMEDIATELY" [4 chain guns and rocket launcher deploy and are locked on]
[Person]"Wait wait wait... I'm not that Osama Bin Laden, I've got an FAA redress number"
[MiARS] "PLEASE SAY OR KEY IN YOUR REDRESS NUMBER"
[Person]"1-7-5-0-2"
[MiARS] "YOU SAID 175OD. THAT IS AN INCORRECT CODE. PLEASE SAY OR KEY IN YOUR REDRESS NUMBER"
[Person]"ONE-SEVEN-FIVE-ZERO-TWO"
[MiARS] "YOU SAID 175ZO2. THAT IS AN INCORRECT CODE. YOU HAVE EXCEEDED THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS"
[Person]"Wait wait ..." [fortunately intrepid person realizes call center code must have been used] {desperately} "AGENT. OPERATOR. CUSTOMER SERVICE."
[MiARS] "TRANSFERRING TO CUSTOMER SERVICE. YOUR WAIT TIME MAY EXCEED 10 MINUTES. DO NOT DEPART THE AREA"
{elevator music commences... guns remain locked on}

OK, I've wasted enough work time on this, anyone want to fill in the next part???

Re:Next steps (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874350)

for illegal immigrants they plan to just demonstrate MiARS's bare capabilities in hopes that the alien will be scared back across the border.

Possible (if improbable) outcomes:

1. MiARS up on blocks, stripped of wheels and valuable metals.

2. MiARS repurposed, with a new paint job and much lower suspension.

3. MiARS obsoleted: Opponent is willing to do the dull, dirty, dangerous task for much less than the cost of maintaining MiARS.

Indiana Jones-Inspired Intruder Alert! (1)

digitaldc (879047) | about 4 years ago | (#33873252)

This is an excellent idea, until someone builds an army of mobile refrigerators with gun turrets.

Then, NOTHING will be able to stop them! Not even accidental detonations!

Re:Indiana Jones-Inspired Intruder Alert! (1)

mujadaddy (1238164) | about 4 years ago | (#33874314)

"Why don't they just make the rest of the plane out the stuff they make the black box out of?"

Scud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873348)

Why couldn't congress spend money on these instead of more gestapo homeland security agents?

Nice Testing Ground (1)

32771 (906153) | about 4 years ago | (#33873492)

Only crazy guys around who shouldn't be there anyway or staff. Next application is the US-Mexican border I would guess.

Re:Nice Testing Ground (1, Troll)

sjs132 (631745) | about 4 years ago | (#33873874)

Yes because once they find the undocumented workers, they could use it to guide them to water, weapons caches and drop off points. Sounds like a plan to me... Must guarantee the flow of blow to Whitehouse parties...

why does this make me think of .... (0, Redundant)

3seas (184403) | about 4 years ago | (#33873496)

Skynet and the matrix????

Great (1)

jhylkema (545853) | about 4 years ago | (#33873584)

Now where are all of the burnout ex-military PTSD cases going to work?

Massive security hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873796)

The MDARS can roam and scout the desert on its own, alerting a remote operator when it encounters something that shouldn’t be there

Simply disguise yourself as another MDARS robot - neither the robots or anyone else will pay you any attention as you drive in, steal the nuclear material, and drive back out.

What about h4XX0rZ? (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | about 4 years ago | (#33873892)

Just one more thing for hackers to try and mess with.

Re:What about h4XX0rZ? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 4 years ago | (#33874782)

I think any sort of programmer outdoors would fall under "something that shouldn't be there"

Two guys in camel costume. (0, Troll)

KurtisKiesel (905982) | about 4 years ago | (#33873992)

All I can think of is some terrorists in some large animal costume walking around in the desert is all it takes to make this technology 100% waist of my taxpayer money.

Re:Two guys in camel costume. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874266)

All I can think of is some terrorists in some large animal costume walking around in the desert is all it takes to make this technology 100% waist of my taxpayer money.

Hey, at least your education was only a 3.22% waste of our taxpayer money.

Meh (1)

xednieht (1117791) | about 4 years ago | (#33874046)

Lasers on Sharks > Camera on Mini-Hummer

I been there (1)

paiute (550198) | about 4 years ago | (#33874200)

Having spent some time in that land, I can assure you that this robot will be covered with rifle bullet holes and shotgun pellet patterns within the month.

Oooooooohhhhh.... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 4 years ago | (#33874278)

...wellllll, I feel safe.

Finally implemented? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | about 4 years ago | (#33874352)

I saw this technology on "Beyond 2000" back before ... 2000. It was really freaking cool ten years ago. Good to see it's being put to use. HOWEVER, I do realize there is more to this than driving a loop watching for stuff, but wouldn't it be a much more effective use of technology to mount the imaging stuff on a rail car? That way it doesn't have to worry about navigation. Or flat tires. And we're pretty damn good at making rails these days.

Hey! Someone mount a Vulcan AA gun on that thing!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M163_VADS [wikipedia.org]

Hummer? (3, Insightful)

Virmal (1281900) | about 4 years ago | (#33874400)

They are trying to save money and they are using a mini Hummer?? How many gallons to the mile?

I call BS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33874408)

Not too long ago I had a NNSA contract and before we were allowed to drive on the NTS we had to take a course in how to not run over desert tortoises and other wildlife we might encounter (you were supposed to move the tortoise gently to the other side of the road). And that was just to get to drive cars on paved roads. Now they are going to let this offroad gizmo roam by itself and only phone home if it sees an anomaly?

Why doesn't the thing have a laser? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33875114)

I know it goes without saying, BUT, why doesn't the thing have a laser? Wouldn't soldiers with access to the camera also want access the trigger? Just wondering...

DARPA challenge? (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 4 years ago | (#33875852)

If I recall correctly, every year there is a DARPA challenge to have autonomous vehicles navigate a desert terrain in the US ... perhaps in Nevada itself. I wounder if this research is somehow related in that they might be using the results of these experiments on the vehicles in question for this article. I guess the best thing so far is they aren't armed .... yet anyways.

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