Pentagon's Latest Projects: Undersea Drones and Robot Land Warriors
November 24, 2012 PressTV
American military has begun work on developing unmanned submarine drones capable of navigating oceans to track underwater vessels of rival nations. Meanwhile, US officials and the designers of a new generation of humanoid and animal-like robots say they are only being built to provide emergency services during disasters. Pentagon officials have made no comments on any possible military applications.
US Building Drone Subs to Track, Chase Away Enemy Vessels PressTV
MOSCOW (November 22, 2012) -- American military has begun work on developing unmanned submarine drones capable of navigating oceans to track underwater vessels of rival nations.
The United States Department of Defense is in the initial stages of developing "unmanned drone submarines" that will navigate oceans across the globe, "tracking and following enemy subs for months at a time," RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.
Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), tasked with developing new military technologies, began the project since "the growing number of adversaries able to build and operate quiet diesel electric submarines is a national security threat that affects US and friendly naval operations around the world," the report adds, citing a statement posted on DARPA's website.
The drone subs would potentially be capable of patrolling US coastlines for up to 80 days at a time covering thousands of kilometers using non-conventional sensor technologies that "achieve robust continuous track of the quietest submarine targets over their entire operating envelope," adds the DARPA's statement.
The main task of the oceanic drone will be to "patrol the waters for enemy submarines and then chase them away if located,”" the report adds, citing Discovery News. "The sub will also gather information deemed necessary by the US government, which will then be sent to US naval commanders up above on land."
DARPA awarded a $58 million contract in August to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for design and construction of a prototype of the vessel.
Our Tax Dollars at Work:
DARPA's Pet-Proto Robot
Pentagon Developing Robotic Soldiers for Future Wars Press TV
MOSCOW (October 28, 2012) -- The US Pentagon has begun a contest to advance its efforts to develop robotic soldiers to fight the wars of the future.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), which kicked off at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) conference center in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday, focuses on testing robots' abilities to work in difficult situations designed for humans that "simulate conditions in a dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environment."
US officials and the designers of the robots say they are only being built to provide emergency services during disasters and have made no comments on any possible military applications.
The DRC has four tracks, with teams participating in tracks B and C competing for access to a modified version of the Atlas robot for use in live disaster-response challenge events in 2013 and 2014.
One of the robots, called Pet-Proto, a predecessor of DARPA's Atlas robot, can maneuver over and around obstacles, using "capabilities, including autonomous decision-making, dismounted mobility and dexterity."
DARPA project leader Gill Pratt says the DRC is "about trying to use robots to improve the resiliency of the US and world to natural and man-made disasters."
According to DARP''s $2.8 billion budget for 2013, the US military's research arm intends to invest $7 million in a project to create robotic partners for its soldiers.
The project, called the Avatar Project, was devised to "develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the solder's surrogate," DARPA announced.
Earlier this year, DARPA released a video of the robodog, which is capable of hauling a soldier's gear and following the soldier using its "eyes" -- which are actually sensors that can distinguish between trees, rocks, terrain obstacles, and people.
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