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Robotics The Military Hardware

iRobot Demonstrates New Weaponized Robot 188

An anonymous reader writes "According to this IEEE story, iRobot and the US military have released video showing a weaponized version of iRobot's Warrior robot. In the video, the Warrior is seen firing a weapon system called the APOBS (Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System), a grenade-filled line propelled by a rocket and stabilized by a drogue parachute. This system is used to clear minefields and obstructed roads. The video shows soldiers deploying a Warrior with the APOBS mounted on its back. The robot fires the device, which lands along a dirt road, exploding after a few seconds. A voice is then heard, 'Road clear; proceed forward.'"

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iRobot Demonstrates New Weaponized Robot

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  • Obvious questions... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TrisexualPuppy ( 976893 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:53AM (#32419346)
    How much does one unit cost, and is this actually scalable and affordable for nations where there are landmines? Most of these countries are third-world as the majority of landmines in first-world countries (e.g. Germany) was cleared years ago.
  • by Brackney ( 257949 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:00PM (#32419442)

    This older story comes to mind whenever I see a new article about military robots. []

  • by ralphdaugherty ( 225648 ) <> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:24PM (#32419848) Homepage

    The robot fires the device, which lands along a dirt road, exploding after a few seconds. A voice is then heard, 'Road clear; proceed forward.'"

          That's fine, as long as RoboCop goes first.

  • by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:25PM (#32420730)

    This is a remote controlled car with a ridiculous rocket launcher on it. It costs $100k.

    iRobot is making a mint sucking money out of the military and out of US taxpayers like me.

    You could do this with a $60 RC car from radio shack and a lot of duct tape -- just rig the firing button to the horn. Buy one with big wheels.

    For all the things we could be using actual robots for, this is pathetic, and a lot like a million-dollar fireworks show, circa Vietnam.

  • Re:Manual (Score:2, Interesting)

    by javilon ( 99157 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:27PM (#32420786) Homepage

    The military of the future may not need to put lives on the front-lines.

    And that is the problem. If nobody comes back home dead, and if the war are fought outside your territory (they are called liberation wars this days), then a war is just a headline on the news for the people on the country deploying the robots.

    That makes engaging in "liberation" wars a much more attractive position for your average politician, especially when you are inside an economic crisis and need some foreign enemy to control your population.

    Eventually wars will be a tech show where the country with the biggest toys wins and takes it all. At least the non nuclear wars.

    I am really sad saying this. But if I was a third world country with a lot of resources (they are the usual target of "liberation" wars) I would see nuclear weapons as the only chance to achieve real independence as I wouldn't be able to afford high tech defenses.

  • by MartinSchou ( 1360093 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:00PM (#32422896)

    There's a continuing effort underway for mine clearing systems with an eye to small cost and high effectiveness and safety.

    Well, use prisoners sentenced for execution and animals (30+ kg) tagged to be destroyed. Each prisoner is given as many animals as (s)he wants, and if (s)he steps on a mine, we'll put him/her down with a bullet to the head.

    If they manage to clear a set number (say 100 mines), they're free to go.

PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5