After years of development and military funding setbacks, defense contractor Lockheed Martin is finally ready to debut its maple seed-inspired drone. The one-winged, one-foot-long SAMARAI drone just flew a test flight for the Associated Press ahead of its official unveiling at an unmanned vehicle conference next week.
Like most Army commanders, Lt. General Rick Lynch says that he needed more troops in Iraq, and that they would have saved the lives of men lost under his command. Unlike most commanders though, Lynch isn't demanding flesh and blood soldiers, but steel and rubber robotic infantrymen.
Speaking at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference, Lynch said that robot systems already in place could have saved 122 of the 155 men who died during his time in Iraq.
Within 10 years, infantry soldiers will go into battle with autonomous robots close behind them. One day, they'll be fighting side-by-side
By Preston LernerPosted 12.20.2005 at 2:00 am 1 Comment
The squat, four-wheeled Robot driving itself through densely wooded terrain looks too macho to be cute, but it's too small to be threatening (picture a cross between R2-D2 and a Jeep). "You start to associate personalities with each of them," says Mark Del Giorno, of his 'bots. But still, Del Giorno, the vice president for engineering at General Dynamics Robotic Systems, which built this machine for the Army, insists that he doesn't anthropomorphize his robots: "You realize that the 'personality' comes from, say, the steering being a little loose.