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Another Robotic Vehicle to Help Soldiers 154

Roland Piquepaille writes "There are many teams of U.S. scientists working on robots able to find improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq before they can kill American soldiers. Today, let's look at an effort going on at Florida State University (FSU) to build unmanned ground vehicles that could save soldiers' lives. The researchers are creating complex algorithms to control these robots who will have to integrate many different factors such as the type of ground surface or obstacles that might block the vehicle's path. Some of these robots, which also could be used for civilian missions, are currently being tested at FSU. Read more for additional references and pictures of these robots which will have to navigate among dense obstacles."
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Another Robotic Vehicle to Help Soldiers

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  • ... beacuse he was run over by an unmanned transport vehicle!
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday June 05, 2006 @12:37AM (#15470177) Journal
    Hell, just crank up the bandwidth for remote-control vehicles and bots, and outsource the whole damned war. I'm already working on an Abu Graihb torture module.
    • I'm already working on an Abu Graihb torture module.

      Me too - it's a PII laptop with 32MB of RAM, a 640x480 screen, and a 14.4K modem, with Windows ME installed. Prisoners will have their choice of a spotty touchpad or a gummed-up trackmarble.
    • Exactly! What American is going to complain about going to war in some country they never heard if none of our soldiers are dieing? Hippies, that's who!

      The economy gets a war boost, the government gets to throw its weight around and the only real cost is the death of a bunch of people that aren't American; everybody wins!

      Ok, sarcasm aside I do like the idea of robotizing (it's a real word, look it up!) the army as much as we can. Many a great peace-time inventions started as or were sped up by military in
    • It could be worse, Cmdr Taco coudl change the layout of SlashDot and F*** us all up, oh wait he just did that... Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! !!!!!!!!!! Even OMG PONIES! was better than THIS!!!
  • So when will these new robots start appearing in the game []?
  • Any moment now I expect robot rights groups to form and start protesting this cruel and unusual treatment of our robot friends. (PETR ?)
  • Battlebots (Score:4, Funny)

    by MrSquirrel ( 976630 ) on Monday June 05, 2006 @12:42AM (#15470198)
    Can't we just send over a bunch of people who compete in the Battlebot tournaments? Yeah, the wedge robots would need a little upgrading, but I can imagine that Nightmare (the big blade a'spinnin') would help out. In the British version of Battlebots (Robot Wars?) they're allowed to use flame weapons. Go go gadget killing machine!
  • by Rifter13 ( 773076 ) on Monday June 05, 2006 @12:47AM (#15470211) Homepage
    Sorry, I really don't know about EMP bursts, beyond that they fry electronics. Would it be possible to create a targetted, or shaped EMP burst, say in front of vehicles that would fry the circuits on the IEDs, and keep the IEDs from going off?
    • And if the IED doesn't use electronics to detonate?
      • The way it works mostly now is they are triggered by cellphones or two-way radios. That requires electronics that could be disabled... they aren't generally like mines that sit there passivley and wait for something heavy to drive over.

        However then the insurgents may well switch to just simple wires trailing off somewhere that couldn't be disabled by EMP. That means they would have to stay closer, and of course after the device went back you could trace where the wires led to, and perhaps gain further in
        • 3 ways to detonate a bomb. 1, remote trigger like cellphone and low frequency transmiters or also known as dead man's switch. 2, suicide bombers with any monkey level hand-eye co-ordination skills. 3, hair pin triggers on roadside bomb.

          EMP only effectively takes out #1. #2 is what does the most damages due to a monkey driving the car. #3 is somewhat effective, but it's as effective as a mime.

          The most important part is effective policing. For instance, eliminate driving during the day except for US mil
          • #3 is somewhat effective, but it's as effective as a mime.

            You bastard. Check your typing. Do you KNOW what coke in the sinuses feels like?!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If it's possible, I'll buy one so I can fry the sound systems of those fucking low-life assholes with a 50MW subwoofer in their car. We don't have to accept these idiots that can be heard for miles and can't be traced by the police and so can't be arrested (low frequencies being omnidirectionnal...)

      Whatever happened to the right to peace and quiet in our homes? Your rights stop where mines start.

      Oh, and the new Slashdot looks SUCKS - This isn't a "news for nerds" look, it's a "I'm a futuristic designer" lo
    • There's a large number of devices that don't use electronics to set off the payload.
    • Unfortunatly, EMP could actually set off the device itself! That is, if it was going to be detonated via electronics to begin with (as opposed to just a fuse, which is pretty low-tech)...
      • I'm having a little difficulty figuring out what's so "unfortunate" about detonating the IED before the vehicle gets to it...
        • Wouldn't it be more logical to disarm the device and then detonate it in a secure location? Somewhere where it wouldn't do any damage to persons or property? Plus, devices like these would be used in the civilian world, by an organisation like SWAT, and I'm sure they wouldn't use it if there was a risk that it could cause a bomb to explode in someone's house. In a wartime situation however, I don't think that anyone would care if you blew up an IED in a public place as long as no-one was hurt, so in that ca

    • An EMP disables electronics by inducing a current overload into a circuit which burns it out like a fuse is burnt out by a current overload. This is just as likely to set off the bomb by inducing a current into the detonator as disabling it.

  • how do i fix slashdot so that it doesn't look like i'm surfing slashdot from inside a Matrix movie?
    • Took the wrong pill this morning, eh?
  • by layer3switch ( 783864 ) on Monday June 05, 2006 @01:12AM (#15470291)
    So 2 feet midget robot car driving around trying to stop IEDs with suicidial nutbag driving right into target? Better yet, how does that help everyone trying to not get blown to pieces while shopping for food or trying to go to school or trying to go from point A to point B?

    Oh wait, here is an idea. EM bomb. No ignition, No Boom.
    • Does anyone tend to think before posting ideas? An EMP device will set the bomb off not stop it from igniting. The whole concept of an EMP device is to disable the electronics by inducing a massive current. Massive currents will still set the bomb off. Also, what if the stupid thing is inside a faraday cage (read car). The Emp device is useless. Not to mention not all bombs use fancy electronics which can be fried. I doubt the level of technology some of these terrorists use is applicable to being abl
      • Not really sure if you know the word "sarcastic", but anyways.

        EMP does not set the bomb off like you've stated. EMF doesn't magically set off bomb like C4 by itself. Matter of fact, EMP is low frequency hence worst it can do to C4 is just give a bad vibration. High frequency is another matter like microwave which can detonate C4 directly or by exploding blasting cap or detonator which makes C4 go boom. Some even said, lighting up C4 with a match will just make C4 burn like a wood. :) Of course, some ho
        • C4 was used for cooking in the field (it burns nicely when not initiated by a blasting cap).
          Not all IEDs use fancy electronic detonators. There are any number of non-electronic ways to set off explosives. While EMP/HERF systems can be useful, there is no panacea.
    • The issue you pointed out is not what the robot is designed to fix. IEDs are buried by the side of the road or hidden in debris. The robot car can go up and investigate disturbances without slowing down or risking the main force. Otherwise, the insurgents may use a conspicuous decoy to stop a battle force right in the kill zone of well-hidden daisy-chained munitions. Car bombers will still get the traditional, low-tech treatment: verbal and manual warnings, warning shots, then hot steel and lead.

      An EM bomb
  • Tag (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by dj245 ( 732906 )
    Tag: R'o'land Piquepaille
  • by SSHGuru ( 887709 ) on Monday June 05, 2006 @01:22AM (#15470319)
    IOTN - Ionatron has already developed something called a JIN that is a remote vehicle that shoots current into the ground detonating all IED's within a certain range.

  • Just wait a decade or two, robots such as these are only the front line. No scientist like Einstein stands out today simply because there are too many scientists who would deserve to be mentioned. Future shock [] is now real or in modern day terms, a singularity, is that much closer. Japanese culture is where I almost expect intelligent machines to emerge from. We fear Skynet, the typical Japanese adult cut their teeth on Astroboy [] and intelligent machines are viewed as "our robot friends" in their culture.
  • If I want to scan by message title and then rating, my eyes go left/right/left/right...

    This is prettier, but I think I liked the old /. more. Kinda like a Linux box with Fluxbox...not the prettiest but by far the most efficient.
  • The robots I'm thinking of would:
    • Put an end to loneliness.
    • Put an end to STDs.
    • Put an end to unwanted pregnancies.

    Whether artificial or not, let's send a bit of what the Bush Administration has done to the American people over to our heroic men and women stationed in Iraq.

  • From the article

    "...envisions the creation of an unmanned ground vehicle that could patrol large areas without putting U.S. soldiers in harm's way." "We're already using drones (unmanned airplanes) for surveillance in the skies over Iraq,"

    So how long before they save lives by taking lives?

    It may be pedantic and out of date but I would prefer if there was a disincentive for military action (like counter invasion or the loss of life) rather than an all out search for ways to carry out military action o

    • Since when do disincentives for war ever work?

      And is war really the worst thing out there? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

      Do we still believe this or not? The sad, tragic truth is that there will always be people who are willing to throw others' lives away, and sometimes the only way to stop such people is to wage war.

      Now that

      • Since when do disincentives for war ever work?

        Vietnam, which ended due to unpopularity at home due to the large number of deaths. Not the 3+ million vietnamese civilians, but rather 58,000 US soldiers.

        If robots had fought that war instead of US soldiers, you would have saved 58,000 people but at the cost of a few million more civilians.

        there will always be people who are willing to throw others' lives away, and sometimes the only way to stop such people is to wage war.

        Sometimes. But more often there are peo
        • WW2 had some pretty lopsided casualties. Japan, for example, lost more civilians in one night of fire-bombing than the US lost combatants during the entire war. Yet there was no Japanese retaliation. They surrendered, were invaded and occupied, and are now a bastion of civilization and democracy. I've never heard of any Japanese terrorists, though I'm sure there were acts of violence against American occupation troops.

          Time was when the USA didn't mess around. Is this why we're still in Iraq? Is it b

          • The Japanese were nationalistic and loyal to their emperor, who surrended. Totally different.

            And by the way, since no WMD were found, the official line is now that we went in to help people (and that has always been the reason). It's hard to keep saying that if you attack with unrestrained force.
            • Those are a couple of solid points, but I think the example of Sherman burning Atlanta still holds. You wage a cruel war to end it as rapidly as possible.

              I'll have to think about the unrestrained force in Iraq part.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The dark side of human nature says that when one side suffers prolonged civilian casualties, they begin to demand payback, eg WW2 bombers over Germany in retaliation for the Blitz.

          If the west can wage war with no or lopsided casualties then this will cause resentment in those countries. People will see their homes and families killed and wish to take the war back to the homes and families of their attackers, inflicting civilian casualties of their own. This is how aeroplanes end up flying into the sides of

          • to which the proper response is a neutron nuke over a predominantly Muslim city

            If a pro-lifer bombs an abortion clinic, should Kansas be burnt to the ground?

            It is easy to prove that your proposal of escalating violence would not eradicate enemies, as I myself would take up arms against any government that behaved in such a way.
    • No, robotics is good for warfare and humanity in general. Most of the bad things that happen in war happen because humans really don't like to die. If you are marching along as a soldier in Iraq, and suddenly you start taking fire from a building, how do you handle it? Right now you call in heavy fire support and simply flatten the building or riddle it full of holes. If you had robots, you might one day be able to send a robot in that goes into the building and incapacitates every armed person in the b
      • That sounds good, but it all relies on the people who control the robots being compassionate, intelligent and only waging war when it is necessary. Think about that, then consider who currently runs the US government.

        PS the word is "coup" as in "coup d'état" (unless there was a change of spelling for the reasons behind freedom fries & freedom kisses)
    • Conversely, I see the big problem as being armed men, overstressed and under pressure, losing their cool and wasting a village full of civilians in a fit of battle-rage.

      Let calmer heads prevail, I say: Let key targets be struck at long range by trained technicians studying spycam images from the relaxed comfort of an air-conditioned command center well outside the "hot zone".

      Keep the troops off the battlefield as much as possible. Let robots, drones, and smart bombs do the killing, under human supervision.
  • I have a wild idea, how about we all comment on TFA instead of complaining about the new /. layout. As for TFA... anything that can prevent the death of a soldier in combat is something I will support.
    • Anything that makes it easier to kill and oppress people is something I will oppose
    • I saw this bit

      "anything that can prevent the death of a soldier in combat is something I will support."

      and I bet that makes three of us who would support it. You, me, and the soldier concerned.

      Might be good though, if we noticed that the most efficient thing for preventing the death of a soldier in combat is certainly stopping the combat in question. If we try that approach however, one third of us might begin suffering from anything from utter boredom to out-and-out depression.

      Rather depr

  • CSS (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
    Give me my Slashdot back!

    It was a joke! SCO didn't patent the old CSS!
  • This is really bad.

    I had to hunt for the "read more" link on each story, and it just feels too blocky and non-flowing.

    I really don't like this CSS at all... I don't know if everyone else agrees with me or not.

    Could you at least give me a option to pick the old one?
  • On the weekend I noticed a rather cool looking robot video posted to stileproject here [] Probably not a good idea to grab it from work though as people (like my boss) don't believe you when you say it's a science and anatomy site.
  • For some reason, it kept trying to torture me and murder my family.
  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:36AM (#15470652) Journal
    The robot i would like to see is a 8 wheeled behemoth with a 4 foot thick armored plate surounding the control area and engine compartment about 6-8 feet wide and maybe 5 foot long that that blasts water jets into the ground directly underneath it to dismantly and land mines it rolls over while doing 50 MPH. Then four robotic armes (2 arms like the booms on a backhoe and 2 arms that function like regular arms capatble of grasping things). EMP generators that only effect maybe a ten foot area and can either disable IED's and road side bombs or set them off. Radio jamming equiptment that can also stop remote detonations. An aray of input sensores that can locate human object and relay thier actions or placment (snypers) and maybe even target them for some other smart weapon to take out. 50 cal snyper riffles and a machine gun, maybe a small 25 or 30 mm auto loading cannon for troop support.

    Make this controlable by a couple of nitendo/xbox style controlers with a sighting relay and let it escort every convoy they run in hostile teritory. All the other vehicles need to do is stay back and follow the wet areas. If it does detonate something, it can push it aside, pick it up with the arms and move it or even do a quicky repair to the road to let the other vehilces pass. Give it a UAV for extended sensor information gathering.
  • I've got a better idea than robotic vehicles. What about not being at war all the time?
  • What do they need them for besides triggering IED's?
  • Anything that helps to prevent human losses is welcome. That said, some methods are more efficient than others. Sending sophisticated robots to defuse explosive traps aimed at American soldiers looks way less efficient than keeping those soldiers at home, preventing both the loss of their lives and that of uncounted civilians, the destruction of a country and the wave of terrorism that is spawned by such violence. This kind of "solution" makes me think of a billion-dollar electronic, intelligent cork put in
  • Are they being set up with like wire trips, weight sensors, or just plain a man in the ditch with his finger on the button? Given the suicide bombers' mentality, I could see the latter being the most reliable choice. In that case, sending an unmanned vehicle ahead of the rest would be very unlikely to discover or trigger the explosion early.
  • Is there another way to make humanity progress wihtout wan beneath? I mean, the best and fastest progress take place durig war. Is where humanity use theire best. So as to destroy. This robots are there to detect bombs, or to plant them? It's the same. Who came first, the egg or the chicken? Stop bothering them, and they'll stop bothering you... Maybe...
  • Here are papers and more videos from the lab's web page: htm []

    Lab's web page: []

    The robot hardware platforms are a customized ATRV (four wheels) by RWI (now iRobot) and a Pioneer DX (two wheels) by ActivMedia (now MobileRobots Inc.). This hardware would not be used in the field (Since RWI no longer exists and the DX is about 2 feet tall), but the navigation principles they developed might be (along with many others).
    • Also, note that this is research into *autonomous* mobile robots (or semiautonomous). NOT remote controlled like all current unmanned ground vehicles used by the military. (UAVs tend to have some autonomy these days, I think.)

      What is not shown in the video that I'd like to have seen is a more dynamic environment, even hostile. Navigating around stationary objects is not in itself impressive, though their forrest of PVC pipes is more (spatially) constrained than most tests. Navigating in a dense hostile e
  • This is funny.. Once again real life is getting dangerously close to Sci-Fi.. :-) If anyone watches Stargate SG-1 they'll know what I am talking about.. But for those who dont here is a link.. []
  • a new improvement in our ability to slaughter the infidel darkies is always welcome

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351