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US Navy Developing App-Summoned Robotic Helicopter

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the johnny-copter dept.

Robotics 69

Zothecula writes "We may be closer to the day when United States Marines will, within a matter of minutes, use a handheld app to summon robotic helicopters to deliver battlefield supplies. On Tuesday, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced its five-year, US$98 million Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) program, with the specific aim of developing 'sensors and control technologies for robotic vertical take-off and landing aircraft.'" Last month we covered NATO's robotic helicopter, the K-MAX.

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69 comments

Robots (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38679868)

Robots, making war easier for the public to swallow. It's less icky to wage war when you can send robots instead of people. But of course, these will only be used to "deliver battlefield supplies." Wink.

Re:Robots (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38679984)

Karmawhoring with veiled anti-war sarcasm is always effective on slashdot, so I don't blame you. But really though, war is about maximizing tactical and strategic advantages, be it the bow and arrow, be it armor, be it castles, be it gunpowder, be it airplanes. What's the alternative, stagnation? Relinquishing war while others do not?

Re:Robots (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682756)

Karmawhoring with veiled anti-war sarcasm is always effective on slashdot, so I don't blame you. But really though, war is about maximizing tactical and strategic advantages, be it the bow and arrow, be it armor, be it castles, be it gunpowder, be it airplanes. What's the alternative, stagnation? Relinquishing war while others do not?

WTF is with these posts. I get flamebait and troll posts every other time and my karma has never dropped from excellent? Is 'their' (heh) another level called hivemind or are all of you full of stonework filled shit

Re:Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38683572)

If so I can only deduce that, on /., being an asshole provides excellent karma.

Re:Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38684424)

Hate to burst your bubble, but your post is exactly that of the hivemind, who like to pretend most slashdotters are not idiots.

Re:Robots (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38695988)

But really though, war is about maximizing tactical and strategic advantages, be it the bow and arrow, be it armor, be it castles, be it gunpowder, be it airplanes.

All of those technologies require humans. The point is that robots allow warfare without risk, making it more palatable for a normally war-weary public. It's just an observation.

Re:Robots (3, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680088)

*Iran Likes this*

Just remember drones can be jammed, intercepted, or hacked. It is a whole lot harder to hack mark one eyeballs remotely.

Re:Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680384)

Its called neuro disrupter and its out tons of people have this just make sure you have the secret handshake. Thats jus for twitching if yo like you can make some one forget who they are, as well as make legions on anyone so. Guns are only used to let people know who did the shooting. All this toys are just toys for the show.

Re:Robots (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681022)

It's called "fuzzing." In computing, fuzzing is throwing invalid data at a program to see how it responds. In social engineering, fuzzing serves to confound your mark, softening them, so that you can get what you want out of them.

One of the most familiar fuzzing techniques is saying absurd things with a straight face, often interleaving them with factual data. Parents could use the technique to see if their kids are paying attention to what they're saying, and slimy sales-types often use a similar trick to determine gullibility and susceptibility. When you call the latter on their bullshit, they can just say, "Haha, just messin' with you, man," and smile with a nudge or a pat on the back.

I fuzz naturally because I am a schizophrenic and use facial expressions, body language, and gestures that are all incongruent to each other. I can put people in a trance by glazing over my eyes while talking to them, leaving them to consciously forget every word I said to them even though I overflowed their buffer with suggestions.

Re:Robots (1)

qxcv (2422318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680624)

Just remember drones can be jammed, intercepted, or hacked.

Claims Iranian state television...

It is a whole lot harder to hack mark one eyeballs remotely.

In Australia, high power laser pointers are banned for exactly this reason. If humans can be blinded by an off-the-shelf laser, how well are they going to fare against bullets?

Re:Robots (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681060)

If humans can be blinded by an off-the-shelf laser

You are confusing actual humans being blinded with overprotective laws made "out of an abundance of caution".

Re:Robots (1)

inpher (1788434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681390)

I can't speak for Australia, but in Sweden as recently as dec 2, 2011 a co-pilot had to be taken to the ER after his plane was hit by green laser.

Re:Robots (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683796)

Taken to the ER does not mean he was blinded. In fact if you follow up you will see that nothing happened to this pilot at all, other than strict compliance with recommendations from his union.

Re:Robots (2)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681914)

The current and known Drone models are vulnerable to AA systems and manned fighters.However, the latest versions are improving thier stealth capabilities to reduce these weaknesses. The US may already have advanced drone stealth capabilities that they have managed to keep classified. Your comment claiming vulnerability to hacks and jamming require proof without conjecture, theory, and hearsay. Can you produce any evidence that any US drone has succumbed to these typse of attacks without using Iranian statements? Most drone losses have resulted from operator error and internal component failures just like any other type of aircraft. The drone Iran claims to possess does not even have any technology that is not already known to foreign military agencies in China,Russia, or any other country with the production means and satellite resources.
The biggest question is why the US allowed them to recover the drone before it was collected by the Iranians. The US knew where it went down and could have destroyed it using missile strikes. If they wanted to recover it in tact a spec op could have retrieved it since it went down near the Iranian border. Personally I think it was allowed to be captured to demonstrate they are under surveillance and are not capable of creating any efficient and reliable counter measures. The assassinations of key scientists and the even the person in charge of their advanced missile development program has also added even more paranoia. Stuxnet also demonstrated that even their most sensitive programs could be at risk.

Re:Robots (1)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38709728)

It is a whole lot harder to hack mark one eyeballs remotely.

Don't underestimate the power of microwaves.

Re:Robots (5, Informative)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680484)

Robots, making war easier for the public to swallow. It's less icky to wage war when you can send robots instead of people.

It's also less likely to make mistakes and kill innocent people. For those of you who don't know most casualties in war are civilians. The civilian casualty ratio [wikipedia.org] for recent wars has averaged 10 civilians for every combatant. The reasons are many but is basically boils down to who takes what risks.

When a soldier is in a combat zone he has to make a shoot/no-shoot choice for every person he sees. Now of course in a combat zone people are running on adrenaline, they are often exhausted, the situation is chaos, and the stakes are life and death. So if you are a soldier and you see someone, how sure are you going to be that they are not a civilian before you shoot? And remember if you are wrong, you die.

A good example is this story [guardian.co.uk]. It is easy to lay blame after the fact. But imagine you are in that chopper, you have had RPGs shot at you all day, and then you see someone in a van pointing a black tube like thing at you. What are you going to do?

But probably the biggest cause is long range weapons like artillery and air strikes. Sometimes sending in people on the ground would be suicide, so you have to use less accurate weapons like artillery and air strikes even though they cause more civilian casualties. This need to minimize your own casualties it just part of how war works, and it always has. The point of war is not to die for your side, but to make the other guy die for his.

With drones however the game changes because you can send a drone on a suicide mission instead of firing artillery. You can have a drone wait and verify that it is a camera and not an RPG. Yes drones will make mistakes, probably a lot of mistakes, but humans only get it right 10% of the time anyway. So please don't pretend that the bar is so high that it will never work.

The argument against drones is like an argument against smart bombs. They get the job done faster, cheaper, and with less casualties for all sides. But then some people will argue against it anyway because its popular to be anti-anything-military.

Re:Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681000)

So if you are a soldier and you see someone, how sure are you going to be that they are not a civilian before you shoot?

Yes, because it's so trivial to program such a quick response into a robot?

if (object == enemy) {
    kill();
} else {
  candy();
}

Re:Robots (3, Insightful)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681400)

So if you are a soldier and you see someone, how sure are you going to be that they are not a civilian before you shoot?

Yes, because it's so trivial to program such a quick response into a robot?

if (object == enemy) { kill(); } else { candy(); }

No actually it is quite a difficult task. How difficult depends on how how much time you have and how accurate you need the system to be.

Humans can be very accurate. Unfortunately in combat they have almost no time, if you wait too long to make a decision it could cost you your life. This means they get it wrong an awful lot of the time. Robots are not really that accurate (for now at least), but they have lots of time because they are expendable.

The reason robots can work is not because the task is easy, but because the bar has been set so low. The robot can have lot and lots of false negatives (ie. doesn't shoot enemies) because no one cares if the robots dies. On the flip side if its positive ids are wrong half the time (ie. 50% of the people it kills are innocent), that is still 5 times better than a human.

Re:Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681318)

Actually, the point of war is to win without even fighting. If you are fighting, making the other guy die for his side is only worthwhile if it furthers your political and economic aims. Remember, war is politics by other means. Sometimes if all your guys die it's useful for you; it creates heroes, martyrs, makes people more willing to buy war bonds etc. If killing one guy by a particular, remote means creates ten more enemies then that may not be working for you. So it's not as simple as you'd like to think. If you claim that your weapons are more accurate and discriminating but continue to kill civlians at a rate of, as you say, 10 to 1, will that really further you war aims? It may just embroil you in an endless, unwinnable war.

Re:Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681582)

Well your little spiel would make sense if bean counters didn't actually care about money.

Right now I know it seems like it would work like you say but the fact is, when all you have is drones then only the drones matter. Why waste 50 mil on a blown up drone when you can level the whole village with the push of a button? You don't even have to see their dead bodies if you don't want to.

Re:Robots (1)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681772)

Well your little spiel would make sense if bean counters didn't actually care about money.

Have you seen how much money was spent on the Iraq war? Money is not an issue

Why waste 50 mil on a blown up drone when you can level the whole village with the push of a button? You don't even have to see their dead bodies if you don't want to.

You mean like how right now we don't waste 100s of billions in Iraq when we could just level the whole thing with bombers? Wait a second.....

Re:Robots (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38682638)

You ask the average American if they would push the button and nuke the whole country if it would put their children through college, bring back all the dead American soldiers, & lower the cost of gas.

Re:Robots (2)

IDtheTarget (1055608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683308)

Something that you're overlooking: The insurgents are actively attempting to get us to accidentally kill civilians. We *know* that this is a Tactic/Technique/Procedure (TTP) that they're using. They hide behind civilians, or wear civilian clothing and shoot at us, then hide the weapons when we return fire. They are actively attempting to make it look like we're killing civilians for their Information Operations (IO) campaign. Of course, the liberals don't deal with reality, they prefer the "American soldiers are killing babies!" headlines. Sorry, it's just frustrating for those of us over here when the Main Stream Media actively ignores the reality of what is going on over here, in favor of "higher truth".

Re:Robots (3, Insightful)

wdef (1050680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683730)

The point of war is not to die for your side, but to make the other guy die for his.

Not quite right. The point of war is to maim and wound the other side's guys, not kill. This is because every maimed and wounded soldier sucks up many times his own resources in being evacuated and cared for. There are figures for this and it came up not long ago on /..

The following analogy occurs to me. The most effective disease does not kill its host, at least not too quickly, before it can spread to new hosts while burning out the original host's resources. So the best (worst) war is an effective disease.

Re:Robots (1)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685580)

I was trying to quote Patton but got the wording wrong it should have read:

“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.”

But you are right in that it is often better to wound than kill. According the Clausewitz the purpose of war is to remove your opponents will to resist you (I cannot find the quote so those may not be the exact words). The actual killing or wounding is just a means to an end. Ideally you can win without fighting through intimidation, diplomacy, etc.

This is a large reason why the fighting of Islamic radicals is so difficult. They feel whatever happens in this world will be justified in the next (eg. suicide bombers). It is incredibly difficult to defeat people when in their view nothing in this world matters.

Although I don't for a second believe that the war in Afghanistan for example cannot be won. Saying that the US is losing to the Taliban, is like saying Germany was losing to the French Resistance, or that Britain was losing to the IRA. Eventually the Afghan police and military will be able to take over in some fashion. Resistance movements like the Taliban are common throughout the Islamic world (ie. Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia) they will never go away for the same reason crime never goes away. It sounds really bizarre to people in the western world to think of Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, or al-Shabaab, as something you just live with. But that has been the reality for many people in the Islamic world for decades.

Re:Robots (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685794)

I find it hard to believe the ratios are that bad - even when in this case the enemy is notorious for using human shields. (Unless the ratio is including victims of terror attacks)

Re:Robots (2)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681388)

That and setting up the social system so that enlisting is a "good" choice for people one previously would have to draft.

Re:Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38683542)

"Care package online"

Re:Robots (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685952)

Robots, making war easier for the public to swallow.

Not just that - making it more cost effective.

Mankind has been making wars as long as we have written or oral history, and logistics has almost always been the decisive factor. The more effective your logistics, the more effective your front-line fighters. In this case, the most obvious benefit is that you don't need to risk/waste helicopter pilots on supply missions. Then you can either save a ton of money on training helicopter pilots or you can train more of them to be fighters - either way it is a win.

Iran Is Most Pleased (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38679974)

Iran has announced that they are most pleased with this plan and eagerly anticipate the arrival of supplies provided by the U.S. military.

Re:Iran Is Most Pleased (1)

oheso (898435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682586)

This. It's only a matter of time.

Re:Iran Is Most Pleased (2)

wdef (1050680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683756)

A war with Iran would not at all be like the invasion of Iraq. Iran is a geographically huge, relatively developed country with money, technology and enormous military resources. Invading Iran would not work out well. That is why the US hasn't done it and probably never will.

Re:Iran Is Most Pleased (1)

Adriax (746043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687734)

Tamper proof system on the access panels, breaks vials of a weak stinkbomb if someone opens the panel without knowing exactly how. Stick a note with "Next one will be filled with nerve gas" inside the drone too.
Next drone fill with a stronger stinkbomb.

Wouldn't be long before word got around to the rank and file soldiers that the crazy americans are filling their drones with nerve gas, none of them would touch a downed drone.

c'mon, wherez my pizza already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680024)

Seriously, where is my pizza delivered by the slice from helo-drones?

pizza delivered by the slice probably isn't feasible with various delivery costs, but presumably it would be with drones. So why not already? Being able to order pizza by the slice economically via drones might be what saves American from getting too fat. Or not, but it couldn't hurt right?

Re:c'mon, wherez my pizza already? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683404)

Fuel efficiency of any aerial drone capable of delivering pizza slices to a door is far worse than one of a truck.

Correct headline (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680054)

US Navy developing remote controlled robotic helicopter.

Let's not start pretending that an "app" is a real thing, distinct from technologies which already existed.

Re:Correct headline (1, Insightful)

qxcv (2422318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680548)

But this *is* distinct from current technologies. TFA says that the navy want the helicopter to land automatically as close as possible to the soldier. Given that it will probably be landing under heavy fire and in difficult terrain, this is no small feat. It's not an app to "fly a helicopter", it's an app to tell a helicopter to fly itself, and the latter part is what's so exciting.

Re:Correct headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680638)

I don't see how an app for this is impossible. In fact, I would be surprized if it wasn't trivial. The only thing that this app would need to do is feed GPS coordinates and maybe some instruction.

The hard bit to pull off would be the helicopter and the software that goes with it.

It never ends... (3, Insightful)

fullback (968784) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680070)

The technology of endless wars, one after another. How about a handheld app to deliver medical or other emergency supplies to accidents, natural disasters, etc.?

Ask an American to rattle off a chronology of American history and the time unit will be wars. War after war. Ask them to describe American culture and you'll get a blank stare.

Re:It never ends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680220)

What makes this technology unable to deliver medical and emergency supplies?

Re:It never ends... (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680438)

How about ... medical or other emergency supplies to accidents, natural disasters, etc.?

You mean, the way the US military regularly and directly does all around the world, and likewise supports/provides security as others do?

The technology of endless wars

All the technology does is make conflict less capriciously deadly in ways that don't get the job done. What you're really bitching about is the fact that the world isn't entirely done, yet, with having conflicts like those in the Balkans or the middle east impact the rest of the world. You're annoyed that places like North Korea would, in fact, immediately roll their special kind of socialist paradise right over South Korea if they weren't sure that Really Bad Military Things would happen to them. I'm sorry that annoys you. Do you have another proposal for containing them? Would you prefer a lower-tech approach, and just line up more troops on the ground, and perhaps some mounted cavalry, to confront their long-range artillery? Maybe some a nice four-mast wooden ship or two to confront the sub they used to sink a South Korean naval vessel?

Ask them to describe American culture and you'll get a blank stare.

How would you describe European culture? Thousands of years of war, there. Perhaps African culture? Eons of tribal butchery. The Far East? Central Asia? Please, do go on.

Re:It never ends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681382)

Ask them to describe American culture and you'll get a blank stare.

Ask a fish to describe water and you'll get the same.

American culture is prevalent throughout all the world. We've become so accustomed to it, we don't even consider it culture.

All hail globalization under the American hegemony. Whether it's a good thing or not is a matter of opinion.

Re:It never ends... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681784)

"Ask them to describe American culture and you'll get a blank stare."

That's completely offensive! I demand an apology.

We have NASCAR, Jersey Shore, and the Kardashian sisters!

Re:It never ends... (2)

wdef (1050680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683664)

Satire aside, the US also produced huge lumps of the world's best culture of the 18-20C, though it's true some it was produced by European emigres who moved to America. The US displays a talent for absorbing foreign forms and re-working these into things of great energy and popularity and engaging in cross-pollination of art and music with the Old World.

Re:It never ends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685590)

Amen! It was stupid but in the bigger picture meaningless. There is no issue with shredding their living bodies with large chunks of metal but pissing on some decaying meat is an atrocity? Someone transported in time from WW2 would think were insane.

Under Budget? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680396)

Seriously, if the final project budget ends up being be anywhere near the stated budget, this is an awesome endeavor which we should be touting as a major advancein technological warfare.

But we all know it'll end up costing $100 billion rather than $100 million...

Re:Under Budget? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680904)

Generally, S&T (Science and Technology) programs are very competitive and they very rarely have cost or schedule slips because they're fairly easy for the government to terminate. Out of control cost growth is most often a product of changing requirements and the asinine involvement of politics in defense procurement decision making.

AFAIK, there are at least 7 teams bidding on this proposal (including BOE, NGC, LMCO), which means cost estimate and technical approach can have a big impact on who wins. Competition works.
-Prime contractor employee

I bet that will come in handy... (-1, Flamebait)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680522)

... when they run out of toilet paper while crapping on enemy soldiers' bodies...

Re:I bet that will come in handy... (1)

wdef (1050680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683684)

To be honest I get surprised by the big reaction to something like soldier's urinating on the corpses of dead enemies. They are trained to be worked into a killing frenzy and to hate the enemy. The corpse does not know it is being urinated on and coiuld not care less and it is not surprising soldiers would vent their rage in this harmless way. So it's not "nice". It's a lot nicer than killing the enemy in the first place. To me this seems one of those bizarre double standards that with which the whole idea of war is riddled. Dulce et decorem est pro patria mori .... or not.

wouldn't you love... (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680560)

...to hack into that.

Re:wouldn't you love... (1)

wdef (1050680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683694)

George Lucas (Verb) Lucasing, Lucased (a) The act of committing graphics overkill. The definition in your sig neglects to mention drowning stilted dialog (and the audience) in the endless, overbearing, overloud strains of John William's pompous maudlin violins.

Re:wouldn't you love... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685286)

...or that Williams stole most of his musical ideas from classic composers. You're right, but there's only so much room in a sig.

Giving a new definition to... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680608)

Killer App.

overruns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680966)

Budgeted for approx $100 million. With delays and overruns, will cost the taxpayer $1 billion and take 8 years. Meanwhile, my son has already coded this as a summer high-school coop. Of course, he doesn't work for one the monsterously huge and incredibly overpaid major defense contractors.... so his product is probably already superior to what they'll eventually field in 2020.

Re:overruns (1)

sd4f (1891894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681800)

Isn't that why jobs in the public service are, government contractors are so lucrative, since their cheques don't bounce and hard to get sacked. It's an interesting idea anyway, but i'm struggling with the application, has logistics to soldiers been the biggest problem in the last few wars? I was under the impression that it was more that they were fighting against well hidden enemies (ie blended with civilians) and terrain which didn't suit any sort of vehicle around, mixed with a dash of no clear reason why they were there in the first place.

I'm sure this can be done for cheaper. (1)

DaneM (810927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681664)

$98 Million...I could swear I've seen a video of some DIY hacker building one for like $30. Maybe a REALLY BIG one would cost around $2,000. What, on earth, could they be spending this much cash on?!

R&D is great and all, but this seems pretty ridiculous--even if it is the US Govt.'s status quo.

Re:I'm sure this can be done for cheaper. (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681786)

$30, huh? quite a feat since the "off the shelf" helicopter alone costs ~$3 million.

yes, i'm sure that someone's tinkering with a remote control toy from brookstone will directly port over to staging a military helicopter in a live combat situation on unknown terrain.

Re:I'm sure this can be done for cheaper. (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685852)

The larger it is, the more FAA (and foreign equivalents...) paperwork you have to deal with.

Paperwork and certifications are a large part of the cost of large aircraft - in many cases the technical challenges aren't great, it's proving to the bureaucracy that your technical solution won't become a flaming fireball in a schoolyard somewhere.

The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38682102)

Need a robotic helicopter to deliver supplies to you? There's an app for that!

Other uses (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682584)

How long until they'll come with machine cannons or AGMs so ground troops can call in air support?
Of course, weapons release will require suitable human authorization... until we have AIs that can do a better/faster/cheaper job.

Fast Loan Approval (0)

pearlcarbajal (2552020) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682850)

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Cheap remote sensing bots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38683030)

Cheap remote-sensing bots have already been used in the Arab spring, as told here [nytimes.com].

Please think more openly about future technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38687950)

This article is symbolic of how the public mindlessly extrapolates today's current popular technology uses to other applications. Think twentieth century "we have planes and cars, soon 'they' will make flying cars!"

A helicopter is a very large, very expensive transport mechanism which can carry payloads even more valuable than itself. Handheld devices' apps are cheap, portable, and used primarily because they are convenient. Does it really sound practical to anybody to control cargo helicopters with a convenient iDroid app, or would you rather have it controlled by a team of experienced, accountable pilots and leave your phone to control your angriest birds?

I stopped caring when people make stupid predictions about future applications of present technology, but it stuns me to see so clearly how unimaginative contributors on Slashdot can be. "Hey man, what if they had a gun that could shoot a laser through the earth and kill anyone in China even in their super communist bunkers from a webapp that reflects moonlight off the Hubble telescope bio-warefare technology nano-explosions!!" That's what your appcopter idea sounds like to me.

Stop.

Life immitating Art (2)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38688182)

1986 - The movie Aliens features a scene where an android remotely pilots a drop ship to deliver supplies and evac a group of beleaguered Marines.

2012 - The United States Navy allocates funds to research a system where you can remotely call for a robotic helicopter to deliver supplies to beleaguered Marines via your Android phone.

Military Expenditure (1)

Caratted (806506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38692238)

New ~$300 Parrot AR Drone (which is already well on its way to being able to successfully "control technologies for robotic vertical take-off and landing aircraft"): $300.

Cost of a "Navy" badge, some long range sensors, military durability, scripts to automate the process: $97,999,700.

*golf clap*
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