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DARPA Wants To Seed the Ocean With Delayed-Action Robot Pods

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the mostly-for-spying dept.

The Military 67

coondoggie writes "This plan sounds a bit like a science fiction scenario where alien devices were planted in the ground thousands of years ago only to be awoken at some predetermined date to destroy the world. Only in this case it's the scientists at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency who want to develop a system of submersible pods that could reside in the world's oceans (presumably not in anyone's territorial waters) and be activated for any number of applications days, months or even years later."

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I make these (1, Informative)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42566179)

I make these (have been since 2010), are they buying? Who do I get in touch with?

Re:I make these (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42566251)

Mr. Lovecraft? Haven't you got the dates confused? I guess I'm not too surprised, you being dead for quite some time.

Re:I make these (-1, Flamebait)

cuiagaha (2814257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569345)

http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com] before I saw the paycheck which said $4153, I did not believe ...that...my friends brother was like actualie bringing home money part-time on their apple labtop.. there uncles cousin has been doing this for under ten months and resantly repaid the dept on their mini mansion and purchased a new Honda. I went here,

Re:I make these (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566541)

I make these (have been since 2010), are they buying? Who do I get in touch with?

Do they have a SCADA interface? If so you probably want to put them behind a good firewall, or in this case seawall, so hackers won't turn them into waterbots.

Re:I make these (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42567733)

Geez, Louise. The title says Darpa is making waterbots, and you're afraid someone will turn them into waterbots?

Did you hit your head when you fell out of bed this morning?

Sooooo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566187)

They'd become the Delayed-Action Robot Pods of America?

Re:Sooooo (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569123)

Delayed action = Wait until I get out of the pool before you turn it on. Who knows what it will do.

Nice souvenirs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566201)

+100 bonus for the big ones

Re:Nice souvenirs (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569503)

Exactly.

TFA says (glibly)

Almost half of the world's oceans are more than four kilometers deep. This provides considerable opportunity for cheap stealth. The vastness and depth make retrieval costs prohibitive.

This of course totally misses the point that you need only recover ONE, and reverse engineer that one to obtain control over the rest.

If a relatively unsophisticated enemy can surf our live drone video stream in Pakistan right off of our own satellites, what would prevent a state sponsored group from recovering one with ROVs. Once you have one, you could theoretically take over control of these pods, launching them all at once to expend themselves well ahead of some planned attack in a particular part of the world.

Being located outside on one's own territorial waters, there is probably amble justification under marine salvage laws and treaties for private parties to recover these and sell them to the highest bidder.

WTF DARPA? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566245)

I don't get it.

http://www.benthos.com/undersea-acoustic-release-modem-SMART-SM75.asp

The article must be glossing over what makes this unique. Do they want a factor of 10 reduction in price? I've been working on the problem of cheap deep water electronics for nearly a decade so this is relevant to my interests(honestly who in the field of oceanography hasn't? Nobody wants to pay a ship to go un-fuck a $100 science project and mass production of gizmos is not the core competency of scientists in most cases).

DARPA is essentially throwing up their hands at the problem of locomotion and saying it's cheaper from an energy standpoint to just pepper the ocean with lots of sensors than to transport a single sensor over lots of territory pushing water out of the way of its course. "Sensors" is a pretty broad catch-all for payload and can vary in price significantly, impacting the truth of that assertion.

Changing batteries isn't cheap so disposable is desirable. Why not just embed a cell phone in a block of epoxy or polyurethane? It is cheaper to drop ballast than it is to displace 100ATM of water, so they might as well settle on a solenoid fired shear pin or electric door strike type mechanism. Syntactic foam and you can do the whole thing with a cheap prepaid, a pic processor, and a solar cell. Battery life scales with price so that is a matter of mission endurance priorities.

Re:WTF DARPA? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566375)

You're rambling. Cell phone in a block of epoxy? Are you friggin' serious? How long does a cell phone battery last? Do you know how far a cell phone signal travels from a tower? Underwater.

Sheesh. No wonder you don't get it.

Re:WTF DARPA? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566445)

You are totally oblivious.

Cell phones are nothing but low cost & mass produced ARM development kits with WiFi adapters and cellular modems that have had the driver compatibilities hashed out by the manufacturer. The user interface is totally redundant in this application, but I'm sure your next line of questioning is "How are you going to use a touch screen through a block of epoxy!"

Use your imagination because I don't feel obligated to connect the dots for someone who thinks that pointing out cellular comms don't work underwater is anything but blatantly obvious. It's not like applications exist that would allow for the hands-free jack to interface with an acoustic modem.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=re.serialout&hl=en
http://acomms.whoi.edu/umodem/

Seeing as DARPAs intention is obviously to achieve force projection along the coast lines of 3rd world shit holes by deploying their surface vehicles and UAS from stealth buoys, maybe they can mesh network their way close enough to shore or their buddy with an Iridium that can call home for further instructions? You know, that way billion dollar aircraft carriers don't have to leave their dicks hanging in the wind to get blown off by an explosive fishing boats,

http://www.batterypoweronline.com/images/PDFs_articles_whitepaper_appros/Bluefin%20Robotics.pdf
How do I shoot web? Toggling power via an MCU is HARD!

Do you have any other inane commentary to make or are you done talking out of your ass?

Re:WTF DARPA? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567225)

I have a question. These would be tethered to bouys? So the solar cell you mentioned would be on the bouy, right?

I'm not challenging you, I'm just trying to follow.

Your explanation was fine, but I'm not sure I understand the physical configuration.

Re:WTF DARPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42567519)

Seriously, he should probably write a grant proposal... How many details of this plan do you expect to be explained via slashdot forum posts?

Re:WTF DARPA? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569053)

Seriously, he should probably write a grant proposal... How many details of this plan do you expect to be explained via slashdot forum posts?

No, of course. I'm just trying to visualize the physical setup. Right now, I'm thinking a little box with business end of things laying on the bottom of the ocean (or close to it), tethered to a micro-bouy with a solar cell on it. Or does enough sun make it to the bottom of the (relatively shallow, since it's near the coast) sea?

I don't want him to give me blueprints, just enough for a relative idiot (me) to get the idea.

Re:WTF DARPA? (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569599)

Try reading TFA. (Yeah, I know).

They want something sitting on the ocean floor tethered to NOTHING. When it receives a signal, it becomes buoyant, rises to the surface and becomes active, and perhaps even launches an airborn observation platform, (probably balloon or short life drone).

  Until triggered, it is essentially inert, it has no connection with the surface, so a long life power source is needed to keep the radio listening. They are looking for the capability to handle multiple different types of payload, at least initially none of those payloads would be munitions. They want them cheap enough that they can be planted in reasonably large numbers and left there for as long as possible.

Re:WTF DARPA? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42570223)

When it receives a signal, it becomes buoyant, rises to the surface and becomes active

Ah, that's the part I missed. I read the article, but that "rise to the surface" part didn't register.

Thanks for being a gentleman about it and not pointing out the deficiency in my reading comprehension.

Re:WTF DARPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42568727)

Photo-voltaic would be for recharging the cell phone battery between communication bursts. Real time clock could synchronize the power switch between sites using a low power MCU like an MSP430. If a photo-voltaic can't handle the pressure during the phase of the operation where the buoy is hanging out at the bottom of the ocean waiting for an HFM or LFM sweep, wave power using a free piston linear motor as a wave powered generator is always an option.

Describing the circuit to build this audio trigger as an analog computer is outside the scope of me running my mouth on slashdot but a magnesium air or aluminum air battery should be able to create the enormous energy density with minuscule specific power requirements to supervise the light switch on the real brains. There is nothing more beautiful to me than the thought of millions of used iPhone 3s hanging out in the Tongan gulf all having their screens light up like a wave across a football stadium because a submarine whispered in their buddies ear 1000 miles away.

So industrial military complex, please take my idea and run with it. Or don't. I hope you do, but I'll do it if I have to. If, I or someone else ever finish writing software for all of this then I'll attribute the idea to this series of slashdot posts and no-one will ever know the identity of the anonymous coward slashdot troll who described an implementation of the Persistent Littoral Undersea Surveillance Network (PLUSNet) that can be rapidly fielded for little cost and repaired as nodes fail without asking congress for more money.

DARPA wants the whole shebang in a single package but it is more practical for them to segment the two functionalities by building the infrastructure of low cost wave powered or solar powered comms buoys and then leveraging that infrastructure to reduce their total investment in pod radios per square kilometer of ocean.

What is missing for that infrastructure to be developed is an economic case where its capital outlay and total cost of ownership after maintaining it are not so large as to leave the coverage too small to be relied upon, which is the status quo. An entire international economy is casting a shadow back through time on to the surface of the ocean, and the only way to bring this ghost to fruition is to address the economic problems which preclude it's existence. As a result of the advent of Bitcoin & Litecoin, an embedded computer WiFi cell-site can spend two thirds of it's life charging capacitors or lithium cells in order to afford the bribe to it's neighboring cell sites to relay its traffic saying "I'm still here" so as to not fall off the routing tables. This toll on through-traffic creates the necessary redress to the bandwidth tragedy-of-the-commons to both incentivize entrepreneurs to salt the coast lines with the an ever encroaching field of communication cells, and also maintain them with updated equipment as FPGAs and 16 core processors make the old systems a cost-center. Seemingly, the inherent profit advantage of having the most efficient cell cites will spur network investment. In an organic bottom up grassroots way, that government subsidies to Verizon's fiber network never could.

The final problems of end-to-end encryption & exit nodes have been well-researched thanks to government authoritarianism squeezing the internet. "Survivor" style anti-competitive alliances will have to be mitigated to prevent the network from falling to tribalism. Trade has always taken precedence over feuds when the money is sufficiently good, so I doubt it would be profitable to turn away packets just to fuck over a competing station's owner.

Another concern is jamming stations equivalent to government demanding a cut of the transactions as extortion. Traffic can be routed around these stations based on a networking algorithm that pursues least cost. signal strength, and throughput as deciding metrics. Nobody will bother with such obnoxious behavior early on simply because it is easier to shoot someone maintaining these buoys in the middle of the ocean, and their MAC can be isolated forcing them to pay obscene transfer rates to send their extortion bitcoins back home. A couple years of this and the FCC will be totally redundant as SDR spectrum fencing will be a very well developed game of tick tack toe.

Bitcoin has monetized electricity in a way that Enron failed to do. We can suck our thumbs until a group of people like Reddit make the future the present, help them, or continue to depend on the institutions that have failed to expand wireless surface based communication networks beyond our shorelines. I would personally prefer to see this network in my lifetime as an economic solution to displaced fisherman. The Ocean's biodiversity is dying, and I don't want to live on a planet where I cannot buy a tuna fish sandwhich.

https://www.projectmeshnet.org/
http://www.reddit.com/r/hocnet

These technologies have been converging for nearly a decade, it's just a matter of time until they connect with each other. Maybe this post brought that contact a little bit closer.

Re:WTF DARPA? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569619)

Photo voltaic recharging at 4000 feet deep?

You didn't bother to read the article did you?

Re:WTF DARPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42571111)

Clearly I failed to communicate. Are a satellite's photo-voltaics supposed to work while on the launch platform?

The photo voltaics recharge the battery of your mesh node which is only activated once an extremely low power DTMF tone decoder equivalent toggles the accoustic modem to wake the fuck up and determine if it is time to drop ballast and surface. The solar cells or wave generators are for re-charging the buoy during its operation as a buoy.

The biggest flaw IMHO is that mesh networking as a means of calling home via shore based GSM infrastructure or a friendly centralized Iridium satellite phone, assumes that mesh networking isn't more prevalent than it is without cause, and that WiFi's low power has an acceptable coverage area to justify the cost of the acoustic modem. WiFi would probably be opportunistic at the surface with the acoustic modem being the only practical mode of comms the majority of the time.

Re:WTF DARPA? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567787)

Aircraft carriers don't have dicks to hang in the wind. If you want to see dick, ship out on a destroyer. We are what the airedales wish they were. We are what the airedale's girlfriends and wives were looking for. The Corps is still looking for a few good men, but the best men have already shipped out aboard DESTROYERS!!!

Re:WTF DARPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42567985)

You mean the ships that the Chinese and Russians consider one of the large American boondogles because they can be destroyed with a single press of a button from a submarine commander?

While the US plays with its aircraft carrier fleets, the real war has moved to submarines, and a sub can sit safely out of way and play target practice using supercavitating torpedos, sinking all the vessels with zero risk to it.

Re:WTF DARPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42568269)

Well then it's a good thing we have about 20 missile subs and 50 or so fast attack subs, too. Some of which could, you know, escort our 70+ destroyers with advanced anti-submarine detection and rocket systems, till they can reach a target within the 40 mile range of their guns or VLS Tomahawks.

You honestly didn't think anyone in our military has considered the most basic of modern naval warfare scenarios?

Re:WTF DARPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42568661)

An attack sub won't do much if it can't find a target, and something that can destroy a carrier fleet can be well away from the action when the fireworks go off. To put it differently, the equivalent would be a WWI Luftwaffe "flying circus" versus modern-day fighter planes well equipped with the latest air to air equipment that can be well away from the action.

The US military seems to have changed. In the past, it was effective. Now, showerheads can't even be grounded to prevent electrocution of troops in theaters of combat.

Re:WTF DARPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42571255)

I think the fact that a full-on coastal assault is required to get our birds safely within shooting distance is an enormous cost-center which is driving our fundamentally futile attempts to detect submarines with boats. A vehicle which is being force to overwhelm their natural predators using herd animal tactics. Herd animal tactics force us to expend a disproportionate number of resources playing defense for no greater profit than antagonizing subs.

Yes, we can do it, but it is a band-aid on the fundamental problem that our ability to make the oceans safe for commerce and our diplomatic influence felt is through extraordinarily expensive & man power intensive craft. If every munition could arm itself and deliver itself within the same effective range for less money we have fewer lives at risk with reduced logistics concerns limiting our theaters of influence. Man power are a substitute for autonomy. At such time as our communications are resistant to electronic counter measures, and our munitions are inexpensive, mass produced, and precise with a long range strike capability, we can put our sailors on subs where they belong. Anywhere that GPS and Sat Comms can reach is easily done remotely for less money and with more domestic patience for extended engagements overseas.

This is all based on the premise that our foreign policy should be as aggressive as it is, and that we need to be able to accomplish these things. I am only suggesting how we can accomplish the same goals for less money & risk to human life.

Re:WTF DARPA? (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42568385)

Isn't mining the open ocean against international law? Not that the US has paid even lip service to international law over the last dozen years, but it would limit the market for war-toy manufacturers.

Re:WTF DARPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566581)

Cell phone at sea? good luck getting a signal, you'd probably be better with a satellite phone.

Re:WTF DARPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566613)

You missed one critical element here ... "years in advance". Squeeze and freeze it, and then get it to sit years waiting to be externally triggered, securely, in the benthic muck without getting buried, detected or compromised. I think it's a very interesting challenge. I look forward to the BAA.

Re:WTF DARPA? (2)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567027)

saying it's cheaper from an energy standpoint to just pepper the ocean with lots of sensors than to transport a single sensor over lots of territory

Well, yes. There are many scenarios where it would be very cost effective to monitor a large area with scattered smart sand grains, each equipped with enough sensors to do whatever and some method to report back. Toss out a few million of them and wait, then correlate the results being fed back. If some of the sand grains get trashed, oh well. You sent out lots of them. Some will survive.

In a sense, this kind of tracking is nothing but motion capture on a very different scale than putting dots on a bodysuit, but somewhat the same idea. By tracking the dots, you build a shape of the object under the dots.

Personally I think this is a great way to explore space if you have a lot of time for results to come back. Toss out a cloud of smart sand grains and let them scatter across the galaxy. Then just wait for reports to come back. You won't need big rockets. You will just need patience. The only problem is that it will take a lot of time. I am convinced space-exploring species have found better ways to do this and perhaps in time so will we.

Re:WTF DARPA? (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567229)

What on Earth makes you think that they give a fuck about making it cheap? DARPA is a part of the Defense Department. We're talking about the only branch of the government that actually gets more money from Congress than they ask for.

Re:WTF DARPA? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567431)

DARPA is essentially throwing up their hands at the problem of locomotion and saying it's cheaper from an energy standpoint to just pepper the ocean with lots of sensors than to transport a single sensor over lots of territory pushing water out of the way of its course.

Have you seen how our military operates?
The Army has hundreds of overseas bases that cost megabucks to build, operate, and staff... just to host an airport or signit or [other].
They have no problem "pre-staging" a hundred million dollars worth of hardware on the off chance it might be needed in some random corner of the world.

One of the problems with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is that the military has more or less emptied its overseas stashes and is now much less capable of responding to new events.
The idea of just tossing sensors into the ocean fits perfectly with the military's desire to have assets everywhere that are available on short notice.

Re:WTF DARPA? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569561)

DARPA is essentially throwing up their hands at the problem of locomotion and saying it's cheaper from an energy standpoint to just pepper the ocean with lots of sensors

Static Sensors is not the principal focus here. The navy has been using sonobuoys for decades, and yes they do just pepper the ocean with them.

The payload of these pods would have active components, Waterborn or Airborn (drone or balloon) that could be triggered into action to provide eyes and ears on events of interest without having to wait till a carrier with drone capabilities arrived on scene. They are specifically talking about unarmed pods with surveillance payloads that lurk on the ocean floor, perhaps for decades, until remotely commanded to launch.

This is different than your typical sonobouy in that it has an active and mobile component once triggered, but lays dormant until that point, using nothing but a low power radio waiting for a specific signal.

 

Not terribly original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566273)

That idea seems rooted in M.D.Geist - The Death Force. (left over robotic tech that just silently waits around for the command to spring into action and rampantly destroy everything although DARPA will get the march on destroying their own R&D budget first.)

Seriously are DARPA just watching old animes for new ideas? Next they'll want some Shirley Temple clones to defeat massive enemy offensives with (everyone knows that little girls singing on the front line of a battlefield can defeat even the grandest of high power weaponry!)

Star Trakcs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566277)

I guess this reinforces my notion that DARPA is made up of trekkies.

Security (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42566395)

These things will need some kind of command and control interface. It will have to be deployed for years, decades perhaps. If anyone finds a security vulnerability they get to own a global botnet of actual robots. Considering drones have already proven prone to hacking I'd be a little bit concerned about this.

Re:Security (3, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42566703)

Maybe a list of one-time pads kept securely in the DoD? I could definetely see value in being able to secure a coastline by sailing around dumping a load of smart mines armed with supercavitating torpedos and advanced sensors with the ability to tell friend from foe. Or even better, send a sub around an enemy's coastline and drop them invisibly, break in case of war. Instant blockade! Given how important control of the ocean is, this could well be an overwhelming advantage.

Re:Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42567537)

Given how important control of the ocean is, this could well be an overwhelming advantage.

The U.S. already has an overwhelming advantage in the oceans. But fuck it, we've got the money.

Re:Security (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567681)

I don't think your plan of "deploy them in case we might need them later" is a terribly good one. International law requires you to announce any sea minefields you create (and as far as I know it doesn't make an exception for "but we haven't armed the mines yet") so you'd immediately tip off the country in question, most likely resulting in the rest of the world wanting to know why you mined the waters of a country you're not even at war with. Of course the "not at war" status might be open to interpretation at that point.

If you don't disclose your minefield then you'd better hope that those mines are never discovered because setting up a minefield in foreign waters in violation of international law is going to go over even less well.

Whichever way you turn it, this looks like a PR timebomb. Given the fact that the USA's reputation is fairly bad as it is perhaps it might be wise to only deploy minefields when you can actually justify their presence (with a better justification than "this is in our country's interest").


Plus, depending on the country in question you might not be able to deploy these where divers can't get at them. The last thing you want is for Hostilecountristan to steal^W salvage your supercavitating torpedos and then publicly shame you in front of the UN.

Re:Security (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569893)

Its not a mine, so you don't have to disclose them. There is no ordinance payload.

These are not mines. They do not explode.

Let me state that in another easier to understand way: THESE ARE NOT MINES.

Rest of your rant is pretty pointless until you RTFA.

Re:Security (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42574055)

My post is not about what the article talks about, it's a reply to its parent post (as evidenced by it being submitted as a reply and not a completely new post). That post talks about deploying "smart mines armed with supercavitating torpedos" and keeping them inactive so that they can just be brought online "in case of war" - essentially CAPTOR mines with a modified fuze and a beefed-up detection system.

In other terms there is an ordinance payload, the payload does explode and they are most assuredly mines.

Before replying in a thread it helps to actually read the thread.

Re:Security (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573559)

A one time pad is fine if your implementation is absolutely perfect. Can you be sure there are no vulnerabilities in the sub's software?

Given how important control of the ocean is, this could well be an overwhelming advantage.

Yes, especially when your own drone subs start ramming your ships because someone fooled their GPS, just like Iran did with your airborne drones. Unlike airborne drones your enemy could have decades to work on cracking your security while the subs sit idle.

Activation code: (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567621)

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"

YES! FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566409)

FreeBSD projeCt,

DARPA DARPs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566467)

That's a really dumb name.

They've done this already (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42566475)

They're called mines

Can't make out what to think of this? (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42566481)

Read it as:
"China Wants To Seed the Ocean With Delayed-Action Robot Pods".

I, for one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566485)

welcome our deep-sea lurking eventual overlords.

Not all that novel (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42566809)

Sure, the ongoing concept of robots that can do something eventually is specifically novel, but the idea of submerging (concealing) something in the ocean for later activation and use is the old idea of captor mines - a concept at least 50-60 years old.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_60_CAPTOR [wikipedia.org]

Their concept is little more than a replacement of the torpedo/warhead with a robotic intelligence-gathering module.

Re:Not all that novel (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569935)

Their concept is little more than a replacement of the torpedo/warhead with a robotic intelligence-gathering module.

A robotic intelligence-gathering module that lies inert at 4000 feet deep doing nothing until you need an aerial reconnaissance platform in some remote corner of the globe. At which time you trigger it remotely, if floats to the surface, launches a balloon or remotely piloted aircraft with satellite up-link capabilities.

Somehow I think that's reasonably novel.

You've managed to totally misread TFA. There is no plan to have automated munitions deployed. These are not autonomous area denial weapons.

Swarm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42566869)

This should be fun. The weapons they are talking about will be small devices deployed in their thousands. When activated they will swarm ships as they approach and then detonate, sinking the damn thing. In many cases, we are looking at something as simple as rotocopter with 1Kg of C4, surrounded will ball-bearings.

Re:Swarm (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569943)

READ TFA.

These are not weapon platforms.

How do they tell friend from foe (2)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567095)

especially at some future date.

Land mines also have this problem

Re:How do they tell friend from foe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42567661)

a certain amount of collateral damage is expected and accepted in the use of any such system

Re:How do they tell friend from foe (2)

tragedy (27079) | about a year and a half ago | (#42570149)

Accepted by the deployer, usually not the deployee. Then the deployers often end up surprised that some of the deployees carry a grudge about the whole thing.

Re:How do they tell friend from foe (2)

JustNiz (692889) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567873)

Modern sea mines are programmed with target profiles based on passive audio and magnetic signatures.
They can not only be programmed to single out a specific class of vessel, but even a single vessel within a class.

Re:How do they tell friend from foe (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569963)

These are not weapons. READ TFA and stop making a fool out of yourself.

Caught my limit ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567577)

... of pods today. Good thing. The lobstah catch has been pretty bad here in Maine.

Please don't do it (4, Insightful)

dave69 (2786111) | about a year and a half ago | (#42567591)

Dear America, please don't mine the entire ocean with giant robotic sea mines, just because you can. signed, the rest of the world

Re:Please don't do it (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569977)

Dear Dave69: Please read TFA, These are not weapons and they are not mines.

Re:Please don't do it (1)

dave69 (2786111) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573707)

well they sound like mines,could look like mines, could act like mines, are being researched by the US military, will be under the control of the US military, and can have ANY payloads attached the US military see fit. In fact its such a great idea , I can believe no one thought of it before ........... oh wait....

Re:Please don't do it (1)

infinitelink (963279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42572329)

Dear rest of the world. As an American, my government's behavior (both parties) is often just as disconcerting to me as you, despite being patriotic and supportive of many things of which the current administration is apologetic. Please note, this is not an official communication on behalf of my nation or its government, is not necessarily representative of any of its policies, positions, or official propaganda, and that I am not an official, quasi, or de facto spokesperson authorized to act in any such capacity to speak for official bodies. It should also not be construed as providing aid, comfort, rhetorical support, or any other assistance to any enemy of these United States or their peoples, and should they be taken in such a manner, have been misconstrued and misappropriated, and perhaps been used to violate my copyright. These statements also do not constitute any legal advice or counsel, and should not be used as such, and should you need such work or counsel, you should seek a qualified professional--a practitioner of the law. ...

(See what I did there, know why, and what it means about this nation, its elites, actual status of freedoms like that enshrined in Amendment I, of right to do certain things without fearing guilds, etc.?)

Re:Please don't do it (1)

dave69 (2786111) | about a year and a half ago | (#42573687)

Indeed, covering Giant robotic Sea Mines, with so much legal astroturf that they sound like a good idea to the American government, does not unfortunately remove the fact that they are giant robotic sea mines. If the US needs any help , from whats left of the British navy, I'm sure a treaty can be fabricated to get us to lay a few for you too....

Re:Please don't do it (1)

infinitelink (963279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42578127)

The astroturf is because of the billion unconstitutional laws and infringements on right of speech and act that you have to be careful: just filling out forms is, according to lawyers, "practicing law" these days--and as they possess an all-powerful guild which everything else references, we're screwed until they're all incarcerated as enemies of the nation, lawful government, States, and people. And I'm sure Britain would love to pick-up that tech too. Regards to like minds and kin across the pond.

3 Laws Safe? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42569689)

I'm reminded of the reason Band-Aids exist, because well meaning frieghtened short term memory folks sometimes play with double edged swords.

Vaguely similar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42571277)

Star Trek Voyager - Warhead
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Warhead_%28episode%29

Cocoon 3 plot? (1)

JimsonJ (2818193) | about a year and a half ago | (#42623115)

They're not mines....it's the latest in nursing home technology. Just a new way for America's elderly to "retire".
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