Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Australia Robotics The Military United States Hardware

Aussie Army Trains With Fleet of Robots On Segways 109

Posted by Soulskill
from the skynet-trains-on-aussie-army dept.
kkleiner writes "The armed forces of the world have already begun to hunt down and shoot robots. No, it's not the beginning of the man-machine war; it's a state-of-the-art training simulation that's very cool to watch. Australia-based Marathon Robotics has taken Segways and turned them into human-shaped autonomous robots capable of moving around streets and buildings just like people in a crowd! The Marathon bots can act like insurgents, hostages, or civilians, letting armed soldiers practice before being exposed to the real thing. The Australian Department of Defense already has a training camp using the robots, and the US Marine Corps will be establishing one this year."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Aussie Army Trains With Fleet of Robots On Segways

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...eh...nevermind

  • by sznupi (719324) on Monday April 12, 2010 @06:23PM (#31823626) Homepage

    If only they made some of those robots similar to Serge Graystone; or perhaps, more appropriately, to few targetbots we've seen in the pilot.

    • If only they made some of those robots similar to Serge Graystone; or perhaps, more appropriately, to few targetbots we've seen in the pilot.

      Pilot? If I recall, they've shown up in later episodes as well.

      • If only they made some of those robots similar to Serge Graystone; or perhaps, more appropriately, to few targetbots we've seen in the pilot.

        Pilot? If I recall, they've shown up in later episodes as well.

        Just Serge. In the pilot, the Cylon was shooting at similar robots in some sort of testing chamber.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by grcumb (781340)

      If only they made some of those robots similar to Serge Graystone; or perhaps, more appropriately, to few targetbots we've seen in the pilot.

      I'm waiting for the robotic kangaroos with Stinger missiles [snopes.com]:

      Eager to demonstrate their flying skills for some visiting American pilots, the hotshot Aussies "buzzed" the virtual kangaroos in low flight during a simulation. The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the Americans nodded appreciatively . . . and then did a double-take as the kangaroos reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of stinger missiles at the hapless helicopter.

  • All I know is that I've got to A) Get a Segway & B) Get my Segway armour-plated & C) Get a life, as thinking Segways are cool is lame...

    --Stak

  • The second Most Dangerous Game!

  • Marathon bots can act like insurgents

    And you don't think this is dangerous? Perhaps the insurgents you are programming are not like the insurgents we encounter.

  • by bughunter (10093) <bughunter&earthlink,net> on Monday April 12, 2010 @06:29PM (#31823712) Journal

    Few can command respect by being simultaneously resourceful and comical. Aussies seem to accomplish this feat regularly.

    Hats off, mates! Seriously, as an engineer, I think this is awesome.

    It's somehow Pythonesque, but I can't put my finger on it.

    • by mjwx (966435) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:23PM (#31825212)

      Few can command respect by being simultaneously resourceful and comical. Aussies seem to accomplish this feat regularly.

      We are also training killer Wombats [abc.net.au] and Koala drop bears.

      Fear your beer swilling, redneck English, southern hemisphere overloads and our homicidal marsupials.

      • by anarche (1525323)

        We are also training killer Wombats [abc.net.au] and Koala drop bears.

        dude. on a serious note, lets try and do what we can to protect the drop bears.

        Those suicidal little bastards need all the help we can give 'em to survive.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        Americans probably have trouble imagining what a wombat really is so I'll describe it:
        Imagine a bag of pre-mixed concrete with fur. Add claws designed to make it dig like a backhoe and you have a wombat.
        • by mjwx (966435)

          Americans probably have trouble imagining what a wombat really is so I'll describe it:
          Imagine a bag of pre-mixed concrete with fur. Add claws designed to make it dig like a backhoe and you have a wombat.

          There was a picture of one of the vicious beasts in the article I linked to.

          Next thing you'll be describing the deadly Australian Land Shark, which can follow you 90 Kilometres on shore.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by dbIII (701233)
            True, but I'd seen dozens of photos of wombats before I saw a real ones and got that impression. Trying to stop a fairly young Wombat from going where it wanted to go was like stopping a minature bulldozer :)
  • Oblig. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arcsimm (1084173)
    I, for one, welcome our new Segway-riding military android overlords!
    • Beat me to the punch. I wonder if the robots spin counter-clockwise when they get hit with an EMP?
  • This was the first thing I thought of when I saw the story! Shoot Me Kangaroo Down Sport [snopes.com]
  • Politics aside (Score:4, Informative)

    by pwnies (1034518) <j@jjcm.org> on Monday April 12, 2010 @06:36PM (#31823804) Homepage Journal
    I would pay cash to be able to play this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's called paintball.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ShooterNeo (555040)

        Not NEARLY the same. In this, you're firing live rounds! A recoil, a powerful bang, real bullets go through cover, etc. Could even come up with a sport where it would be a lone man on the course with a real gun versus a team of people controlling the robots. Kinda a Rambo challenge, where if a robot manages to shoot the lone player with a paintball the robot wins.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Kinda a Rambo challenge, where if a robot manages to shoot the lone player with a paintball the robot wins.

          Wuss, it should be live rounds both ways!

        • Glad someone else brought up paintball, because it would be awesome to arm these things with paintball guns. You could add bots to your paintball matches, that would be awesome!
  • These robots do not look like terrorists, they are more like either insane terrorists or a bunch of idiot pervy wankers, however, I say give them guns to shoot back and put bombs on some of them dammit, otherwise what kind of real life simulation is that?

  • by riker1384 (735780) on Monday April 12, 2010 @06:37PM (#31823824)
    Why couldn't they have rigged up some cheap 4-wheeled robots to carry targets around? Then there would be no need for the expensive Segway balancing mechanisms.
    • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Monday April 12, 2010 @08:15PM (#31825116)
      If you watch the video, they mention that the Segways lurch forward a bit when accelerating in a way that is similar to the posture of a human running. Also, I suspect that the stability that 4 wheels gives a platform is far too unrealistic to mimic humans well: If you ever read up on the physics of walking on two legs, you'll find that humans tend to lurch and sway a lot in a somewhat similar way to the segways.
      • by riker1384 (735780)
        So add one hinge and motor, and tilt the target back and forth if you want. That's still a lot simpler than the Segway's gyros and all that crap.
        • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

          Because then instead of simply buying a segway and stripping it down to the essential parts, you are rigging up a completely new and untested platform, and needing to built it yourself. The segway's "gyros and all that crap" are indeed complicated, but somebody else already did that part for you...

  • But when they want "unprecedented levels of realism" in a training scenario against real people, why not use real people? Outside of the odd practice with live ammo it doesn't like there's even good reason to simply invent a better non-lethal training weapon. It's probably cheaper and suffers none of a robot's shortcomings with terrain... ...like, say, Daleks and their pre-2009 arch nemesis: stairs.

    Unless there's a reason where you wouldn't simply want more soldiers/police/etc. practicing as the other facti

    • Re:Not to be obvious (Score:5, Informative)

      by icegreentea (974342) on Monday April 12, 2010 @07:08PM (#31824232)
      The robots are for sniping practice. For long range shooting, nothing comes close to the actual thing. You really don't want to put real people out on the range.

      I mean sure, they COULD just send their snipers off big game hunting, but that might not play so well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TapeCutter (624760) *
        "I mean sure, they COULD just send their snipers off big game hunting, but that might not play so well."

        They have been doing that since WW1. The recent shooting of 6000 terrorist camels [guardian.co.uk] hardly raised an eyebrow over here.
    • by Ksevio (865461)
      With this system, they can have one person controlling a whole fleet of robots. And by controlling, I mean he presses start on the computer. That's quite an advantage over having 20 people that you're not even allowed to shoot at.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by c6gunner (950153)

      But when they want "unprecedented levels of realism" in a training scenario against real people, why not use real people?

      I like your enthusiasm, but most civvies get upset at the idea of being used as live-fire targets. They won't even let us use the prisoners from Gitmo!

      Outside of the odd practice with live ammo it doesn't like there's even good reason to simply invent a better non-lethal training weapon.

      Ah, I see the confusion. You didn't actually RTFA. No big surprise.

      These robots are intended specifically for live-fire training. For everything else, we certainly DO use real people.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Eudial (590661)

      Daleks were seen hovering as early as 1985 in Revelation of the Daleks, but I guess that's digressing.

    • I recall an incident at an Australian military base recently where some guy shot at a friend assuming that he was firing blanks, and discovered one ohnosecond later that he was firing live rounds. On that occasion blank rounds were banned completely so that the users could assume that any ammo is live ammo. Its safer that way. Even safer to never fire at a human, unless you mean too.

    • This lets you practice with live ammo. While you could use blanks and MILES-type systems and get decent results, nothing really beats firing off a real bullet.

  • It's Australian Department of Defence you insensitive clods.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phrogman (80473)

      Give the US its due. Many of its citizens have learned to speak the Queen's English with fairly good results, its just on the spelling front that they apparently have problems. Sadly, up here in Canada a lot of people are adopting the US spellings it seems. I presume this is due to so many spell checkers defaulting to the mangled US spellings for words (if they offer the correct spelling as an option at all).

    • by quenda (644621)

      Fair suck of the saveloy - even we Aussies get confused on that one.
      A lot of email gets lost/delayed because they refuse to register @defense.gov.au and redirect it.

  • A further benefit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    When you have spent a year or so shooting 100+ robots dressed up in various ways and moving in various patterns, it's not that different shooting a couple of insurgents. Almost like robots.

    • per Shooter, the movie

      q: what's the first thing you feel after you shoot a civilian?
      a: the recoil of your rifle.

      desensitization and social acceptance.

      it's also the reason space operas are more popular than other military sci-fi and naval / aerial battles are more popular than infantry: it's more clinical. things go boom cleanly and you can avoid confronting the facts of death.

      i'm not saying that snipers are inherently evil or that it isn't a necessary function, but i'd rather not encourage the development

  • Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnarlyhotep (872433) on Monday April 12, 2010 @06:46PM (#31823952)
    Someone actually found a viable real-world application for Segway that isn't a publicity gimmick.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Insurgent on Segway http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pFv8CAniYQ [youtube.com]

  • I thought aussies are fighting with cane toads and camels.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by anarche (1525323)

      nah, we've given up on both those fronts and figured we might stand a chance of an actual victory if we stick in afghanistan

      • by wordsnyc (956034)

        Yeah, because that's worked so well for everyone since (and including) Alexander the Great. Nobody wins in Afghanistan.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jeremi (14640)

      I thought aussies are fighting with cane toads and camels.

      Indeed they are. Once trained, an Aussie sniper can reliably strike a target with a high-velocity cane toad from up to 2000 meters away. Camels, on the other hand, are too large to fire from a rifle, and require the use of motorized artillery.

  • Why don't they just dress up some kangaroos in camouflage and turn'em loose? It'd be a lot cheaper and after the wargames they could have "roo on the barbie".

  • Make one of the robots look like C3PO. And of course and enable it to talk.
  • the Aussie army will be prepared!!

  • There's a subtle flaw in the design of this 'simulator' however - no simulated opponents or hostages on the second floors or on the roof.

  • To real life Cyberball [wikipedia.org]. I'd pay to see that in an arena.
  • Physically, it is not difficult and I found the PT lessons and field exercises, while very informative, to be easy and even comical at times. Ultimately, the marches you'll do at your unit and on operations will be more difficult. Pro Cleanse [articlesbase.com]
  • They're just scoping out their opponents and their traditional mode of transport. The Australian Government is preparing to fight a war against Google on two fronts - the internet filter and a hunting trip to Mountain View.
  • I was just wondering when the robots will start shooting back. Will it be 2015, 2020 or 2030? Maybe we should have a slashdot poll on that. And should we call the computers controlling these robots for Skynet or would that infringe on known trademarks?

"Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside desperate to get out." -- Montaigne

Working...