The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are (ostensibly) winding down and military budgets are facing the axe on the home front, but that's not stopping contractors from building bigger and badder combat-ready robots. Today in badass autonomous military hardware: Mesa Robotics' Acer, a 4,500-pound mine-clearing, bulldozing, drone-launching, ordnance disposing, pack-muling mini-tank.
Acer is yet another attempt to provide U.S. armed forces with a multi-utility companion 'bot that can be put to a variety of battlefield uses, like sweeping an area for buried IEDs, carrying gear, and poking around in suspicious areas so human lives don't have to be put at risk. What sets it apart is its brains. Designed by a DARPA alum, Acer's "behavior engine" imbues it with a relatively high degree of autonomy. It can follow troops on patrol autonomously, or sweep an area for buried explosive threats and safely detonate them all by itself, without bringing harm to troops or to the robot itself.
And perhaps that's the big draw here. Acer's main design parameter back when it was part of the Army's now defunct Future Combat System initiative was to flail--that is, to employ a large rotating front-mounted drum that essentially slings chains into the dirt in front of the machine, which digs up and detonates buried explosives. It makes that look easy--you can see this about halfway through the video below, as Acer rolls through a minefield without missing a step as bombs detonate in its face--and that's a nice capability to have in theaters where IEDs are the primary threat to troops.
Augment that with a variety of interchangeable tools for ordnance inspection and disposal and lane clearing, cargo space to carry extraneous gear, and even the ability to launch VTOL drones off its back, and it's fair to say Acer is just what the Army needs. Or needed.
As Danger Room points out, the wars are ending and the Army is broke. Still, DR was able to get its hands on this video, which appears to be a final promotional push to get Acer into service before platforms like it are no longer considered integral for the Army's upcoming mission profiles. And hey, what's not to like about watching a two-ton-plus autonomous armored robot charging through a minefield?
well, at least Acer has many non-military applications as well.
why learn from your own mistakes, when you could learn from the mistakes of others?
“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible” -Albert Einstein
Why did they have to play terminator music though??? LOL
@Aldons Last Hope
Why not play terminator music? That thing is totally gonna get sent back to the 80's to change the future.
Small little boys, small little red wagon.
Green big boys, green big wagon.
military UAV, UGV... what about the cure for cancer or electric cars? why do we keep developing tools to destroy ourselves instead of tools to build a better future?
At 6:37- why does he have an Xbox controller? LOL
because thats where the money is. Its the way capatilism works like it, love it, or leave it.
Don't love it won't leave it. Time to change it. No more military spending on this nonsense.
You’re just on the edge of making a coherent thought. Please retype your sentence and make them a little longer. Otherwise, I just read you words as babble.
Find a bridge of which everyone will pass and charge them a penny or even a percentage of a penny and you too can become a billionaire, (GOOGLE).
Ooops, I meant to post that at the Google cell phone article. OH RAZFRAT!
Don't make it look like money isn't spent on those things as well. It just seems like those with the same sentiment as you pipe up everytime a story like this hits the airwaves.
I don't see you complaining about GPS; which was created for military operation and transformed into a device of general use for ground and aerial navigation.
The cure for cancer will be reported on Popsci when it happens, but they will not post it in grand measures because it doesn't yield the technological robustness that other subjects tend to have.
As far as the electric car, you're not paying attention. Their are developments made in that field on a bi to tri-weekly basis. Popsci has the articles, look 'em up!
And, stop complaining about the spread of violence through technology. That violence keeps you say at night when you sleep (this includes local and state law enforcement too). Because we know you're not going to fight someone that threatens your own well being. You need someone to fight for you.
becaue communism/socialism works right.....show me evidence of that, tell me China and I will tell you its a communist based government with a capatilist based economy.
I really like that picture.
These will all be infected with a virus by next week. In 2 weeks Al Qaeda will be able to hack them and take control, turning them against our own troops.
Ironic satire; or, satirical irony.
They'll only be able to plant a virus and steal secrets.
Thank you for the compliment of the picture.
That picture is the best of two worlds. It is a representation of the cosmos.
The other if you use your imagination is a Q. ;)