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DARPA to Raise Robot LANdroid Army

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the hey-baby-wanna-destroy-all-humans dept.

Robotics 127

Banekartr writes "The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to develop a fleet of robots that soldiers can deploy in urban combat settings as they move through houses and along streets. The program, dubbed LANdroid, envisions miniature autonomous drones that can form a network capable of relaying radio traffic in a setting often considered challenging for communications equipment. According to a notional image of a LANdroid included in a DARPA pamphlet, each robot will be about the size of a deck of cards, and must be rugged, lightweight and able to operate for seven to 14 days, the agency said. Demand for technologies to improve the military's ability to fight in urban settings has increased in recent years because many of the operations in Iraq take place in Baghdad and other Iraqi metropolitan settings. DARPA officials will provide additional information about the program during a July 6 industry day."

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Not very covert .... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580415)

Won't a bunch of little robots crawling about be pretty conspicuous?

Really, how difficult will it to put a bounty out for kids to go about smashing such things with rocks or something? Unless they can stay undetected they're gonna be prime targets for removal by anyone who doesn't want them about.

Cheers

Re:Not very covert .... (1)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580515)

It probably depends on the price of them and the ability to deploy.

If you could dump 1000 of them out for 100 bucks a piece... all by dropping from a plane or several per soldier, it would probably be quite effective. Even if they do smash one of them, even a couple photos taken will be useful.

Re:Not very covert .... (1)

duranaki (776224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580547)

I think they see these operational in active combat zones. Not sure how many kids are running around smashing stuff when there's live fire a block over. They could always print a copy of the Koran on the cover, making it a sin to destroy them. :)

I just hope they run linux so I can program my own LANDroid minions.

Re:Not very covert .... (2, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580745)

I think they see these operational in active combat zones. Not sure how many kids are running around smashing stuff when there's live fire a block over.

Hopefully that's true. But, I don't get the impression that when there's a running firefight in urban parts of Baghdad that they've managed to clear out all of the civilians. In some places (maybe not Iraq, I don't know), the kids are sadly participating in the live fire.

When you're battling an insurgency/non-traditional forces, they don't always clear everything out in advance so it's a nice sterile combat zone of good guys and bad guys. I suspect a lot of civilians end up trying to stay the hell out of the way to varying degrees of success.

Cheers

Re:Not very covert .... (1)

reconn (578681) | more than 7 years ago | (#19584543)

Well crap, you've just described a scene from the spiders [e-sheep.com] , an alternate-history-GWOT web comic. Life art life art life.

Re:Not very covert .... (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581029)

Give them simple avoidance algorithms. We've been studying cockroaches for how long now?
Ew. Robotic cockroaches. Armed. Hundreds of them.
Better hope that IFF thingy works.

Re:Not very covert .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19584397)

"Give them simple avoidance algorithms."
Run when a wookie roars at you.

Re:Not very covert .... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581927)

Won't a bunch of little robots crawling about be pretty conspicuous?

Really, how difficult will it to put a bounty out for kids to go about smashing such things with rocks or something? Unless they can stay undetected they're gonna be prime targets for removal by anyone wo doesn't want them about.

So do what geocachers do, figure out how to hide something in plain sight. A grotty old tin is lying in the gutter. Who would guess it actually contains a little robot cabable of moving the can around with some motors and gyros?

The fact is warfare is again changing, to employ swarms of networked robots to monitor and react in a hostile environment some may not requre any camo.

Re:Not very covert .... (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582465)

Seems pretty easy to use low-tech against these. Dogs for one. And then application of effective peasant technology such as POR weapons (Plain Old Rocks) or SMD (Shovel of Mass Destruction) or the more sophisticated FBCB airborne weapon, also known as Frikkin Big Concrete Block deployed off roof.

Also they may be susceptive to simple home-brew weapons. Robo-tasers, gadgets rigged from auto ignition coils, etc.

Boom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19584281)

You are of course assuming they never get the ability to defend themselves or just blow up...

Re:Not very covert .... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582525)

From the PDF document (page 10)


The goal is to create small, inexpensive, smart robotic radio relay nodes that
dismounted warfighters drop as they deploy in urban settings. The nodes then self-configure and
form a mesh network - a temporary infrastructure that establishes communications over the
region. As the situation changes, the nodes will adapt the network, such as self-healing if nodes
are destroyed by the enemy. Through movement and density, the LANdroids will enable
effective communications in complex non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments like those found in
urban settings - dealing with phenomena like fades and shadows through strategic self-placement
and chaining of the relays.
...

For both the software and robotic areas, the program will develop LANdroids for use in settings
where the ground is relatively level and traversing complex terrain is not required. In general,
warfighters will deploy LANdroids in urban areas they want covered with communications and
the warfighters themselves will provide a large percentage of the basic locomotion, i.e., will carry
the LANdroids to a general setting and drop them. LANdroids are a solution that combines both
density and intelligent autonomous movement. Thus, in practice there will be conditions under
which LANdroids are unable to navigate a given terrain in order to self-heal or otherwise make
large adjustments in the network.


The illustrations present the LANdroid as a combination of a mobile phone (status indicating monochrome LCD), the chassis of a radio-controlled tank (treads) and a WiFi station (four antennae).

Given the cheap cost of CCD chips, they might as well stick a web-cam and microphone on each system to help in surveillance and gunshot triangulation.

I blow my nose at your Landroids (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19583511)

Hah!
I'll just counter-attack the Landroids using my LandLord(TM). It will send them home penniless and humiliated.

Re:Not very covert .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19583533)

Have them set to self destruct. Maim kids, problem solved.

Re:Not very covert .... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19584029)

Really, how difficult will it to put a bounty out for kids to go about smashing such things with rocks or something? Unless they can stay undetected they're gonna be prime targets for removal by anyone who doesn't want them about.

Well... That is what the sniper hidden on the rooftop waiting for a "no-signal" alert is for.

And to be fair to the kid (and to those standing around him), the alternative was to just have a Predator drone drop some white phosphorus on last known position of the robot.

Re:Not very covert .... (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19584407)

Won't a bunch of little robots crawling about be pretty conspicuous?

Really, how difficult will it to put a bounty out for kids to go about smashing such things with rocks or something? Unless they can stay undetected they're gonna be prime targets for removal by anyone who doesn't want them about.


Ah yeah, but if they were invisible [slashdot.org] . Now that would be difficult to smash [slashdot.org] :-)

Hmm. (1)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580417)

All in time for the Transformers Movie.

Minority Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19580455)

Sounds like the spiders from Minority Report.

Re:Minority Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581357)

That's exactly what I thought of when I read the headline!

Re:Runaway (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581649)


Minority Report? I immediately thought of the spiders in Runaway [imdb.com] ... what? Tom Selleck, Gene Simmons, Kirstey Alley ... killer robots, bullets that fly around corners ...
damn, y'all make me feel old.

Beowulf (0, Redundant)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580465)

Just imagine a beowulf cluster of these!

I predict (1)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580661)

I, for one, predict a fleet of "I, for one, welcome our deck-of-card-sized LANdroid overlords" jokes.

Please no (2, Funny)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580475)

Please tell me that the network layout graphics in the linked PDF were not created by an adult working for the US Government.

Seriously, the little guy running with a rifle icon, that has to be from some grade school art contest. No one could possibly think those are functional informational graphics intended for grown ups.

And the green clouds?

Re:Please no (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580889)

Grownups? Since when are reporters and news managers grownups?

Re:Please no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19580955)

the network layout graphics in the linked PDF

Dude! This is Slashdot: you weren't supposed to actually RTFA!

Re:Please no (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580991)

Seriously, the little guy running with a rifle icon, that has to be from some grade school art contest.

It's from a clip-art collection. I swear to god I've seen it before.

I think the "green cloud" is intentional -- if you look at it, it's not just a cloud, it's an overlapping of circles with radial gradients surrounding each of the nodes, presumably indicating their range or effective coverage area. Or maybe because it just looks cool.

Anyway, this is DARPA -- what do you expect? They're too busy thinking about stuff to make slick reports.

Re:Please no (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581601)

The problem, as usual, is that the graphics will eventually affect how they look at things and silly cartoonish graphics aren't going to further anyone's understanding.

The green circles are all the same size. If the Landroid that fell down into the sewer can effectively cover the same area as the one clinging to the side of the building, this must be some new wireless LAN technology I've never seen before.

And the warfighters who are trying to communicate, they both look like Meatloaf wearing a cookpot on his head.

Why is the droid standing on the deck of cards in every graphic? Surely that must be to give us a sense of scale, to show us that we aren't talking about a regular deck of cards here but one about 2 stories tall, twice the size of our cookpot headed giant Meatloaf warfighters.

Wouldn't a line drawing of a city been better than a photo?

Anyway, I guess the thing touched a nerve. These same graphics could be done in probably half the time and be twice as informative if the emphasis was placed on conveying information instead of being cartoonish.

Re:Please no (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581197)

Well, sometimes you get the feeling people who make pdf-files spend more time on the pdf than on the idea, so I think this was pretty refreshing.

Re:Please no (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581437)

I presume the green circles are "radio footprints." Of course, whomever made this either didn't realize that overlapping the radio footprints doesn't make the devices communicate (the footprint has to reach the next device over), or figured that people reading wouldn't know and were going for visual impact instead.

This is bound to work (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19580483)


as technology can win wars, see Iraq for example where a $10 mobile phone and an old tank shell can stop a billion dollar army

want to cost USA a few million dollars ? just chuck a grenade at their robot and thats the end of their glorified RC Car

LANdriod? (2, Funny)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580499)

Come on, you can do better than that

And anyway, I thought that Lucas had a copyright on anything 'droid.

Re:LANdriod? (2, Funny)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580653)

True. Besides, when I hear LANdroid, I think of the poor intern being blown about by cold air as he pops his head up from raised floor tiles like a meerkat while holding miles of tangled CAT5.

Re:LANdriod? (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581127)

Well, originally they wanted iLANDroid but ...

Re:LANdriod? (1)

genner (694963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582429)

It's still better than the old edroid's they had running around a while back.

Re:LANdriod? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19583877)

Actually, the first use of "droid" that I personally know of was in an SF novel from the 1950s. (Someday I'll find it again... gotta unearth and reread that part of my collection...)

But when I saw this article, my first thought was ... oh no, REPLICATORS!!!

Paging Gene Simmons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19580523)

Did these people learn nothing from the film Runaway? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088024/ [imdb.com]

Simpsons (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580529)

"We can put a man on the moon, but we can't build killer robot police?"

I've got a bad feeling about this.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19580549)

Look, sir: droids!

Re:I've got a bad feeling about this.. (2, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580945)

These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Re:I've got a bad feeling about this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19583825)

"Roger roger"

I can't wait (2, Interesting)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580591)

I can't wait for the civilian version - I could use a bunch of Wifi routers with tracks scurrying round my house making sure I never get into a weak signal area.

As long as I could turn them off at night that is.

Not as good for the soldiers as advertised (1)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580603)

This is really being designed to help the army commanders answer the age-old question: "TK-421, why aren't you at your post?" Now they can just ask the LANDroids.

To Serve Man (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580623)

able to operate for seven to 14 days

They'll probably need to recharge their batteries rather than dedicate a lot of space to bigger ones.

When the Pentagon sends out little robots that feed on "battlefield casualty" bodies, we're all doomed.

Re:To Serve Man (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581047)

I think the point is they would just have non-replacable batteries, work for 14 days (or whatever) by managing that power very closely, and then die.

I strongly suspect that they're considered disposable -- you place them out to get communications coverage for one particular operation, and then just abandon them in place afterwards.

Re:To Serve Man (2, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581749)

just abandon them in place afterwards.

That may not be a good idea, since enemy forces could just then grab the abandoned droids, and use them to listen in or jam our communications. A better idea would be a self-destruct mechanism of some kind, to prevent capture.

Also, does anyone else think that these LANDroids sound a lot like the Probe Droids from Empire Strikes Back?

Re:To Serve Man (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582235)

Doesn't seem like that would be too hard to do. It might be something as simple as only storing the encryption key in volatile memory, so that when the batteries run out, the key evaporates. You're left with the hardware, but it won't handshake with the rest of the network or do anything else particularly useful.

Plus, if you're an adversary trying to avoid being killed by U.S. forces, picking up a U.S. radio and transmitting on it is probably unhealthy. As in, once detected, it could lead to serious HARM [fas.org] . (Obviously the AGM-88 is overkill for someone on a low-power radio, but conceptually you could do the same thing on a smaller scale; build some sort of micro-HARM that would home in on a low-power transmitter.)

Re:To Serve Man (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581141)

Being military, they'll probably use RTGs to charge capacitors. I suspect a fairly small RTG would generate enough juice to charge ultra-capacitors for use on the high-energy stuff like movement. AKAImBatman would know more, if he's reading...

Nuclear material (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581259)

Yeah, because it'd be a good idea to give terrorists easy access to nuclear materials/technology. :)

(Yeah, I know, RTGs use low-grade materials, but it's funnier if you don't think too hard about it. OTOH, it might make it harder to detect actual bomb-making materials if you're scattering around a bunch of RTGs.)

Re:To Serve Man (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581543)

AKAImBatman would know more, if he's reading...

At your service. I saw the bat-signal and came a'running. ;-)

Being military, they'll probably use RTGs to charge capacitors.

It would be nice, but I doubt it. RTGs are still incredibly expensive and wouldn't be used on something throw-away like this. In fact, the military as a whole tends to shy away from nuclear technology unless it's a bomb. The only reason why NASA still uses RTGs in the face of public protests is because nothing else will work. (Spacecraft live and die by the power available to them. Nuclear is not just an option, it's a requirement for extended space travel. People are going to need to accept that if we ever want to push out into space.)

More likely the military will look into using fuel cells or microgenerators to power these little buggers. For about the same space as it would cost to pack a couple of LIon batteries, the engineers could stick an alcohol fuel tank & (power cell | micro-gas turbine) with many time the energy density. That would allow the robots to meet or exceed the 7-14 day life expectancy.

Here's an example of just such a fuel cell: http://www.gizmag.com/go/5325/ [gizmag.com]

Time to update the old T-shirt.... (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581983)

Anybody else remember the one with the two vultures on it that said "Scavengers my eye! I'm going to kill something!" I imagine a Beowulf cluster of these would look like a swarm of pirhanas come feeding time...

Re:Time to update the old T-shirt.... (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582295)

I remember the Marine Corps T-shirt that said "Kill 'em all... let god sort 'em out!"

Must... resist... urge.... (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580705)

These aren't the droids.... GAHHHH!

Re:Must... resist... urge.... (1)

3chuck3 (512455) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580971)

Yes, was this not the Antaganist army from Star Wars Ep 1 and 2?

hmm .. us gov plus robots (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580785)

equals a really bad sci fi movie. I guess that depends on how you liked terminator or R.O.T.O.R. . I'm sure there are many others and they usually end pretty bad. Like some terrorist getting their hands on the robot and reprogramming.

But if it saves human lives, then it is a good thing. Until they decide they are better than us and hunt us all down.

ROTFLOL

WiFi Repeater With Wheels? (3, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580841)

OK, I just gotta ask: Why would you want a WiFi repeater to be mobile? Given its size, it can't be *that* mobile, especially in an environment with a little bomb debris. I can't imagine it would be able to keep up with the troops, and the recovery rate (if they're hoping for it to drive home) would be so miniscule as to be outweighed by the increased bulk and cost of the drive unit.

Leave the drive unit and motor control out, double the battery life, halve the weight and price, drop twice as many. Then design a separate device to do whatever they hell those tracks are on there for (giving the brass stiffies, is my guess).

JM2C, but this looks like a tits-on-a-mule cockup between war scientists and dipshit generals. "That looks good. Can you put wheels on it?" "Wheels, Sir?" "Yeah, wheels, so it can drive around, like that Grand Challenge thing you did. And the Predator. Autonomous warfighting robots, it's the future, son." "Umm, well, I guess it's possible." "Outstanding! Let me know when it's ready."

Not that I don't dig the shit out of DARPA, and I definitely want an autonomoous WiFi tank of my own, but this seems a little stupid.

Re:WiFi Repeater With Wheels? (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581305)

Agree completely. Having it move around seems stupid, unless it has some sort of other purpose besides what's being disclosed. (Anyone remember the little slow-crawling bombs from Total Annihilation?) I think they're just there for the "wow" (or perhaps "WTF") factor.

Seems like, if you had enough money to spend on the design, you could make a wifi (or similar UHF/microwave) repeater that was really tiny. Use custom ASICs, and I bet you could get something that was less than an inch in diameter and a few inches long, including batteries. Harden them appropriately, and you could drop them from planes over a target area, and even if you took substantial losses, would still have a functioning mesh network on the ground.

What you really want isn't a miniature tank with a Wifi AP strapped to it, what you want is an overgrown self-powered RFID tag with transmit/receive and basic routing capabilities.

Re:WiFi Repeater With Wheels? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581451)

I suspect that they will not only have wheel but also cameras. THAT would make them useful as an occupation tool. (Of course it should absolutely not be tolerated outside a battlefield and any citizen should be authorized to destroy them during peace time). For a SF vision of this sort, you can check this SF webcomic [e-sheep.com] . In fact the idea seems to come directly from it...

Re:WiFi Repeater With Wheels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19582071)

Next time, please at least skim the article before giving your half baked ideas. The link goes into great details about why mobility is required: shadowing. Shadowing is a result of signals in an urban setting (they get blocked by buildings, multipaths occur, etc). Being mobile allows them to make small location changes to minimize shadowing, and to repair the network when other nodes start dying. They're not supposed to follow the Soldier or return to home base after a week. They're designed to be dropped on the go, and to simply stop working after 2 weeks, with no need for clean up.

Re:WiFi Repeater With Wheels? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19582585)

In the PDF they specifically mention the two reasons for wheels/tracks (doesn't matter which for the project, just that it's able ot move):
  • Fine tuning of signal strength. If you think this is not a significant advantage, you haven't spent much time trying to find the strongest signal for a particular location. Just because your home wifi is 'good enough' for your purposes, doesn't mean it couldn't be a lot better 2 inches to the North. This is very significant when you realize that these units will be deployed by soldiers willy nilly as they run around - the soldiers are specifically NOT required to 'find the best wireless spot'. They can drop the units as they run, and the units will take off on their own to build the best mesh they can.
  • Repair of the mesh when a node goes down. So if Node 7 goes down, then Node 8 and 9 will try to find a better position for themselves to provide coverage where Node 7 was. Along with this they propose to follow a soldier - so they get better coverage as they move about.
Btw, they are disposable - there is no plan for them to drive home. They also aren't required to manage stairs or debris fields - flat relatively benign surfaces only, though they are required to be able to navigate around obstructions.

Re:WiFi Repeater With Wheels? (1)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582859)

Btw, they are disposable - there is no plan for them to drive home.

Sounds like war in general...

Not a technical problem (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19580859)

Our armies are not designed to be police forces that occupy cities.

This is not a technical problem that robots will solve.

Re:Not a technical problem (0, Troll)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581461)

That might not have been the original intent, but that is what they are used for now, and this is what they have to adapt to. For better or for worse, there is no other organization out there capable of acting as a police force in a combat zone, especially when it is a combat zone filled with warring ethnic and tribal rivals. Cops don't have the fire power, the UN couldn't find its dick (much less a genocide) if you handed it to them, and NGOs don't fight. The only alternative to using a national army is hiring out a mercenary army.

Now, it could be argued that acting as police is a waste of time/money. That said, I sure would like the army to have the ability to play worlds police if we have to. The future conflicts of this world will be Rwanda and Darfur style genocides and civil wars. Perhaps we will silently watch as we have in the past, but we should at least have the capacity to act should watching a nation drop 10% of its population in an orgy of rape and murder (as seen in Rwanda) eventually gets to our delicate sense of morality. Of course, we could just go the European rout and ignore every single genocide all together while paying lip service to diplomacy. It isn't terribly effective, but it sure is cheaper and lets you bring out peace slogans.

Re:Not a technical problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19583047)

That's great, but his/her point remains that simply adding tiny rolling wifi repeaters to an army does not automatically turn it into a police force suitable for dealing with widespread violence in cities.

Re:Not a technical problem (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19583541)

Right, and giving someone a bullet proof vest doesn't suddenly make you a competent soldier. What is your point? I don't think anyone OMFG give them a single piece of equipment suddenly the US military is the best policing force in the world. It is just one minor component of the many that will be needed.

I for one ::tab:: (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580869)

LANdroid army ::tab::

incidentally how does one include strings in gt/lt brackets without the /. parser recognizing it as html.

& is your friend (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581115)

incidentally how does one include strings in gt/lt brackets without the /. parser recognizing it as html.
Use the &lt; (<) or &gt; (>) notation.

Twin linked pulse carbines? (1)

Pond823 (643768) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580887)

I'm looking forward to deep strike battlefield videos, all in the name of The Greater Good.

That's Okay with me (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 7 years ago | (#19580891)

I'm secretly cloning an army of Jar Jar Binks' to combat them. Rest safe, people. Jar Jar has your back.

What No Weapons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19580925)

Wonder how this will twart the sucide bombers in Baghdad?

Darth Cheney's Other Plan (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581023)

Is to compliment the army of droids with the orbiting battle station.

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Conservative_med ia_site_claims_Bush_will_1202.html [rawstory.com]

So really, when it all boils down to it, liberals watched Star Trek, and wanted to make the world like that, whereas conservatives watched Star Wars, and wanted to make the world look like that.

Just a like President and a Vice President, there is a master and apprentice. Which is which?

Here's a plan (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581053)

Paint them white, let them loose and wait for the enemy to say 'Ooh, iPhone!' then when they pick it up, kaboom!

urban pacification .. (0, Flamebait)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581119)

How about not spending the money on figuring out ways to destroy some gook village and instead spend it on health care. Wait untill they turn this stuff on you.

"This city has been pacified", Judge Joe Dredd

Re:urban pacification .. (3, Funny)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581307)

How about not spending the money on figuring out ways to destroy some gook village and instead spend it on health care. Wait untill they turn this stuff on you.
Wait until they turn an army of wi-fi LAN bots on us? Oh dear god. Please, don't let them give me free wi-fi access!

Transcript From the Pentagon Meeting (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581439)

Person #1: "We need ideas on how to resolve the Iraq quagmire."
Person #2: "How about a withdrawal?"
Person #1: "Unreasonable! Next!"
Person #3: "A death ray?"
Person #1: "Look into that, next!"
Person #2: "A withdrawal is the sane answer..."
Person #1: "No can do! Next!"
Person #4: "Ummm, a billion dollars for mind control research?"
Person #1: "Great! Add it to the budget, next!"
Person #2: "For a fraction of that we could end this."
Person #1: "Not acceptable! Gotta stay in! Next!"
Person #5: "A fleet of robots? We could take money from customs inspectors to pay for DARPA funding."
Person #1: "Excellent! Now these are the kinds of ideas this administration is looking for!"

Another Military-Industrial-CONGRESSIONAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581775)


Complex [whitehouse.org] scam.

Here, Landroids. Good, little Landroids.

This [google.com]
should take care of your army of zero [jihadunspun.com] .

Cheers,
Kilgore Trout.

I for one... (4, Funny)

Mr. Fahrenheit (962814) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581155)

...welcome our new... oh god I'm so depressed.

Landru? (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581201)

did I hear someone mention Landru [incompetech.com] ?

mod 0P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581235)

something done antibacterial soap. FreeBSD at about 80 If you answered quaareled on paper towels,

demand for technologies has increased .. ? (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581321)

"Demand for technologies .. has increased .. because many of the operations in Iraq take place in Baghdad and other Iraqi metropolitan settings"

How dare those Islamo-fascist-crypto-communists think they can run their own country and steal our oil.

Re:demand for technologies has increased .. ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581571)

You're right. I mean, they have an advantage; they don't value human life. Makes it a lot easier for them then us; We should just give in and let them conquer the world, like the Quran tells them to.

Re:demand for technologies has increased .. ? (1, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582691)

"You're right. I mean, they have an advantage; they don't value human life. Makes it a lot easier for them then us; We should just give in and let them conquer the world, like the Quran tells them to"

There was *no* danger of terrorism attacks coming from Iraq as Saddam Hussein kept the Islamic fundamentalists firmly under his thumb. And back when he invaded Iran, he was still one of Americas favourite dictators in the middle east. It was only after he invaded Kuwait that he became Americas second biggest bogey man.

"They" value human life the same as the next man, but having grown up in a refugee camp being bombed from the air by helicopter gunship, they are likely to become a little desensitised. The scattered population of dispossessed Palestinians are going to be a threat long into the future.

It was the US administration that promoted Islamic fundamentalism while it was usefully in pushing the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. Bin Laden was specifically sent in to Afghanistan to organize the 'resistance'. Currently, Al Qaeda isn't so much an organization but an amalgam of remnants of these groups plus a distributed group of disaffected Muslims being fed poison by the religious leaders in so called religious schools (madras). This is the source of the current terrorist threat. As such blowing up some gook village in Iran is going to do squat to defeat terrorism.

Support the troops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19581349)

So the troops will have pr0n in the field, but how are the torrents going to be?

PTSD (1)

xinjiang77 (1106823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581425)

This must have been how Marvin became a paranoid android.

Cute (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581473)

Cute little things, but they are going to have a hell of a time with stairs.

Stairs (1)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582023)

they are going to have a hell of a time with stairs

Says who? [wikipedia.org]

Actually, I see these things (the DARPA card deck-sized robots) being tossed through second floor windows, and launched to higher storeys.

didn't I see these things ... (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19581503)

... in minority report?

Mini-Helicopters (1)

writerjosh (862522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19582561)

Supposedly, the LANdroids are to be deployed at the same time the troops are. The only problem I see is that these droids can't move as fast as Hummers and tanks. An army needs to be highly mobile, and take ground at a high rate. How can these droids change positions fast enough to compensate for a fast-moving army? Doesn't seem possible to me.

A better alternative would be to make these droids into mini-helicopters instead. They could land on roof-tops and thus be more out of harm's way. Plus, they could move much faster when needed. Plus, I think the mini-helicopters would be plenty durable. Have you ever seen that infomercial for those mini helicopters that can crash into stuff and keep right on going?

Where's my check, DARPA?

Re:Mini-Helicopters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19584223)

If you read the announcement from DARPA you'll see that they are not supposed to move around a lot, just a little. Imagine moving into an environment (urban, rural, etc.) where you want to keep everyone connected. As your troops move through, you drop repeaters, and create an on-the-fly mesh network. But if a repeater ends up behind a wall, under a car, or behind some other obstruction, it would be nice to allow it to move itself around a short distance. This can greatly improve the signal quality and range. (Ever see those "can you hear me now?" ads on tv? ;-)

So the idea isn't quite as stupid as /.'ers are making it sound.

Deus Ex. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19582637)

"The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to develop a fleet of robots that soldiers can deploy in urban combat settings as they move through houses and along streets."

Welcome to Deus Ex.*

*Remember the spider bots?

Re:Deus Ex. (1)

FusionDragon2099 (799857) | more than 7 years ago | (#19584597)

Scanning area... target acquired...

Another Conservative failure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19582739)

Oh yes, excellent idea. Let's retool our entire nation's military to make it more effective... to fight in Iraq. And that's it.

Gone are the days when our military is focused on "national defense". Now our military will be good for one thing, and one thing only: subjugating our Iraqi colony, and perpetuating the genocide of people who have the audacity to live above our oil.

Yep, these conservatives sure are smart.

Re:Another Conservative failure (1)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19584791)

Well, we (the USA) haven't had a defensive war/military action since WWII. Korea, Viet Nam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq (parts 1 and 2), Somalia, Bosnia, etc., are the larger operations that come to mind. If you think the lack of a "national defense" focused military is new, you're about 45-50 years late to realize this.

Realistically, most of the kinds of fighting in the post WWII era has been much like it is in Iraq--urban guerilla warfare fighting against a smaller outgunned and almost invisible enemy that uses booby traps and bombs (now called "IEDs") to kill as many troops as possible. The fact that our casualties from this war are LOW compared to all previous conflicts is remarkable. Any technology that can help keep troops alive is a GOOD thing--military personnel, strictly speaking, don't really have a choice about who they fight or where they fight much less the reasons why.

Whether or not this ARPA project is a good or effective technology remains to be seen. Since the press release is not classified, I'm sure it's not the most effective tool or weapon on the drawing board for Iraq or whomever the USA decides to fight next.

Before I make my final comment, please bear in mind that I am neither a conservative or liberal--I'm a moderate with no agenda to push except reason:

I will believe the sincerity of liberals who rant about oil, genocide, and foreign policy when I see them giving up the comfortable lifestyle our petroleum-based economy affords them. Equally, I'll believe the the sincerity of conservatives when they stop bullshitting us about their motivations for using the military to enforce our "foreign policy."

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19582955)

Al Qaida to deploy daily EMP-releasing pipebombs.

SexBots (1)

HEADCHEESE (1117985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19583397)

Why has noone talk about the porn/stripclub applications. SexBots Rule. God im so lonely :-( somebody please make me a sexbot.

Re:SexBots (1)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19584283)

*poof* you're a sexbot

Well.. (1)

ms1234 (211056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19583775)

Future warfare will be more and more fought in urban areas as people move more and more to cities. And as US has now noticed, urban warfare is something completly different from normal warfare.

only helps terrorists (1)

rebmemeR (1056120) | more than 7 years ago | (#19583911)

These robots will be easy pickings for the enemy. They'll figure out a way to harvest them, reprogram them, or just re-use the parts. This will put the terrorists and insurgents decades ahead. The wiring diagrams will be available by bittorrent.

I just wonder (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19584343)

how long will it take for a freedom fighter and his 12 year old son to hack one of these and turn a platoon of these little buggers 180 degrees around.

Yeah, I know, sounds like a bad movie, but a bunch of electronics can be 'persuaded' to fight it's own side than a bunch of brainwashed people.

Do they have a Self Distruct feature? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19584551)

Well, do they?

1. Hunt

2. Fire

3. Self distruct if in danger and/or out of ammo.

So you've got car bombs eh? Well, we've got ROBO-BOMBER!

Terminator, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19584553)

Sounds like the Terminator scenario, where the people in control send out robots to kill anyone who opposes their power.
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