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Thursday, April 27th, 2006

Time Event
Troops Using Robots
Strategypage has a nice account of using robots to beat IEDs. There's been rapid progress. The infantry started using R/C toy cars to bump potential IEDs. Then they brought toy dump trucks to deliver detonating charges to them. Now the Army is issuing an $8000 robot to do the job more reliably (which makes me hope some acquisitions guy got a medal--that's remarkable response in our system). So the EOD teams only have to be called out for the tough ones, not every shoebox by the side of the road.

I think we're headed for a world where the typical infantryman is "squad leader" for a set of robots. New recruits will start as "assistant SL" until they've gotten the hang of being out in the field. Then it'll be back to the simulator to practice maneuvering a team of 'bots. Okay, it may be a while before they're autonomous enough that one soldier can supervise a half dozen robots. But at the rate things are going it won't be many years before an infantryman's standard gear includes a scout robot to go ahead of him and a packbot following with his rations and spare ammo.

Current Mood: thoughtful

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