Here’s an interesting round-up of info about the work being done on developing UAVs that fly in swarms. The swarm is a great model of operations for flying robots, as it allows for complex behaviours without centralised control of the individuals, by using a form of communication referred to as ‘stigmergy’. Not convinced? Think of a flock of birds at dusk, and the way they can all move with a uniform fluidity, never crashing into one another, and seemingly thinking as one. We’ll probably see military apps first, but this technique could be applied to planetary exploration too.
Everybody wants to get on that robot bandwagon, and the military are no exception. They’ve been investing in the development of a robotic pack-animal called the BigDog, which looks kind of like a headless metal dog/horse hybrid. Ugly as it may be, it can apparently tote 120lbs over a variety of terrains.
The armed forces of the world, as ever, are dead set on using technology to gain an edge on the battlefield. Hence the Indian Prime Minister’s announcement that his country is starting a program to develop “cutting edge technology weapons in sensors, robotics, propulsion systems, stealth and fighting wars through use of remote technology”. I guess anything that means less people have to die is OK by me.
Robots; noisy and power hungry. Sharks? Silent and self-fueling. Just one reason the US military is investigating the potential of using neural implants to control ocean-going sharks and use them as spies.