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Robotics The Military Hardware

US Navy Developing App-Summoned Robotic Helicopter 69

Zothecula writes "We may be closer to the day when United States Marines will, within a matter of minutes, use a handheld app to summon robotic helicopters to deliver battlefield supplies. On Tuesday, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced its five-year, US$98 million Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) program, with the specific aim of developing 'sensors and control technologies for robotic vertical take-off and landing aircraft.'" Last month we covered NATO's robotic helicopter, the K-MAX.
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US Navy Developing App-Summoned Robotic Helicopter

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  • Re:Robots (Score:5, Informative)

    by inhuman_4 ( 1294516 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:47PM (#38680484)

    Robots, making war easier for the public to swallow. It's less icky to wage war when you can send robots instead of people.

    It's also less likely to make mistakes and kill innocent people. For those of you who don't know most casualties in war are civilians. The civilian casualty ratio [wikipedia.org] for recent wars has averaged 10 civilians for every combatant. The reasons are many but is basically boils down to who takes what risks.

    When a soldier is in a combat zone he has to make a shoot/no-shoot choice for every person he sees. Now of course in a combat zone people are running on adrenaline, they are often exhausted, the situation is chaos, and the stakes are life and death. So if you are a soldier and you see someone, how sure are you going to be that they are not a civilian before you shoot? And remember if you are wrong, you die.

    A good example is this story [guardian.co.uk]. It is easy to lay blame after the fact. But imagine you are in that chopper, you have had RPGs shot at you all day, and then you see someone in a van pointing a black tube like thing at you. What are you going to do?

    But probably the biggest cause is long range weapons like artillery and air strikes. Sometimes sending in people on the ground would be suicide, so you have to use less accurate weapons like artillery and air strikes even though they cause more civilian casualties. This need to minimize your own casualties it just part of how war works, and it always has. The point of war is not to die for your side, but to make the other guy die for his.

    With drones however the game changes because you can send a drone on a suicide mission instead of firing artillery. You can have a drone wait and verify that it is a camera and not an RPG. Yes drones will make mistakes, probably a lot of mistakes, but humans only get it right 10% of the time anyway. So please don't pretend that the bar is so high that it will never work.

    The argument against drones is like an argument against smart bombs. They get the job done faster, cheaper, and with less casualties for all sides. But then some people will argue against it anyway because its popular to be anti-anything-military.

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's