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Robotics Industry Insights

Safety Triggers Military Robot Alert

by Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR
Robotic Industries Association

Recently, a Google Alert for the term “safety” served up a link to coverage of the MAARS Robot (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System). Before I could deduce why coverage of this military robot is tied to the word safety I was transfixed by the video associated to the search.

The footage was shot at a trade show which is one sign of how military robots are now perceived as mainstream technology. For that matter, there is a robot rodeo for such devices and many top industrial robotics companies participate. In fact, our friends at NDIA are planning the next one in March 2010 during the Miami Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference and Exposition (see their video).

If you like “Future Weapons” on Discovery Channel or get down with Retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. R. Lee Ermey (“Mail Call” on History Channel, etc.) – and even if you don’t – then what you hear and see about the MAARS Robot will probably grab you.

Without a doubt, this is a serious military robot capable of “full escalation of force” and comes equipped with “situational awareness” standard. It is modular with various configurations, and can be weaponized (lethal and non-lethal) or used as a gofer to carry supplies or tend to the wounded on a battlefield.

Video displays from the gaming industry are incorporated into the package, and if you use an X-Box controller you already have done training on how to run this robot. Take a look for yourself, but for your own safety (my sorry allusion to the Google Alert term that triggered this editorial) watcher beware, this is about a warfighting robot geared for a military mind set.

Originally published by RIA via www.robotics.org on 11/05/2009

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