U.S. Military Developing Autonomous Robots
I know, I know. The first thing that comes to mind when someone hears the words “autonomous robot” is a certain killing machine that sounds very similar to an ex-California governor. Sure, the military is looking to arm some of these robots, but not as many as you might think. Far too many people are still uncomfortable with the idea of setting loose a machine gun toting robot for the things to become standard issue.
The cuddlier side of autonomous military robots is probably best summed up by the Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR). While still under development, its primary mission will be to seek out wounded soldiers and extract them from dangerous situations without exposing more military personnel to enemy fire or other hazards.
When not saving soldiers, the BEAR is also intended to be capable of helping to load and unload equipment, approach possibly mined or booby-trapped locations and other such useful tasks. When attached to the rear of a Humvee, Vecna Robotics hopes to create programming that will keep an eye behind the vehicle for potential threats.
The word “autonomous” might be a tad misleading, as well. None of the robots under development are designed to operate solely without some human interface. That interface could consist of gesture and voice command control, direct control or just a sort of kill switch override in the worst case scenario.
Below you’ll find a video about the BEAR.