July 20, 2013
As part of the Robotics Challenge sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) the RoboSimian, which is still under construction, is being touted as the winner of the competition because of its design.
RoboSimian will be able to walk on its four hands, command precise actions and function as anchors if needed.
JPL and Stanford combined forces to “build a simian-inspired limbed robot” that has the ability to use “deliberate and stable operations to complete challenging tasks under supervised tele-operation while in a degraded human environment.”
DARPA has also unveiled Atlas, a humanoid robot that stands over 6 feet tall and weighs 290 pounds, being called “one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built.”
Atlas was created by Boston Dynamics, INC, (BD) with funding from DARPA.
DARPA awarded Boston Dynamics, Inc. a $10.9 million contract to manufacture humanoid robots that are bi-pedal, built like humans and have a sensor head with on-board computing capabilities. Completion of the project is expected for August of 2014.
This robot “is a high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain. Atlas can walk as a bipedal leaving the upper limbs free to lift, carry, and manipulate the environment. In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces.”
Built like a human, Atlas has “sensate hands will enable Atlas to use tools designed for human use. Atlas includes 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom, two hands, arms, legs, feet and a torso. An articulated sensor head includes stereo cameras and a laser range finder. Atlas is powered from an off-board, electric power supply via a flexible tether.”
The Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) has given DARPA the ability to work with civilians and defense contractors to develop software designed to simulate robots to complete a series of tasks such as a walk up to, enter and drive a utility vehicle.
The VRC endeavors to build disaster robots with 26 universities provided robotic teams that will produce technology for DARPA.
Russia has endeavored to create their own killer robots that will be designed to eliminate terrorists.
Deputy Prime Minister Dimitry Rogozin, who also oversees defense, explained that these robots are being developed by Russian experts to “minimize casualties in terrorist attacks and neutralize terrorists.”
Working as service “men”, the robots would assist in disaster scenarios. In the event of a terrorist situation, these robots would be utilized because of their specialized ability to “see terrorists through obstacles and effectively engage them in a standoff mode at a long distance without injuring their hostages.”
According to reports : “Russia says it’s developing special robots that will neutralize terrorists and help minimalize the causalities of a terrorist attack. The head of Russia’s Defense Industry says that the killer robots will also be able to evacuate injured civilians and servicemen from the scene. Dmitry Rogozin says that Moscow is also creating systems that can see terrorists through obstacles and engage them in a standoff without injuring hostages.”
The robots would be able to control crowds, apprehend suspects and take them to the authorities for “questioning” or possibly “neutralize” persons of interest or targets who have been identified as potential threats.
Analyst Ken Kevins contends : “This is certainly a bit of concern not so much because there is a real threat that they will take over the world, the robots not Russia, but because it opens up a whole new avenue for warfare that really doesn’t involve humans or consequence or anything like that, like the things that stop people from wanting to fight in wars. It’s very unlikely that robots will ever take over the Earth. There are a lot of humans and probably not enough steel to create the machines that would be needed to kill us all, but that doesn’t mean Russians couldn’t use them to take over the world.”
Kevins points out: “Hopefully they fail, which does seem likely given their spotty history, because they won’t like show restraint or anything like that. These would be Russian robots which really wouldn’t even consider things like ethics or morals or anything like that. And that would be bad for the rest of us. I really don’t think we need to worry about robots taking over the world but the Russians, they are a different story.”