War Robots Invade WashingtonBy Wayne Rash | Posted 2006-10-11 Email Print
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The robots appearing at the Association of the Unites States Army show are doing jobs that soldiers would otherwise have to do.WASHINGTONYou know you're visiting a different kind of trade show when the signs for the new GUI on a product refer to an automatic weapon. You get a better idea when you find yourself standing beneath the main gun of the new Stryker mobile weapons system. But it really hits home when you visit the usually benign world of iRobot and find not Roombas, but instead autonomous killing machines.
That's right. There's nothing quite like having a friendly robot nuzzle up to you, only to look down on a pair of fully automatic, autoloading, remotely controlled 12-gauge shotguns swiveling around. A few feet away, more shotguns, and a little further away, a larger, diesel-powered, autonomous robot packing a 30-caliber machine gun set up for totally automated operation. "So," I ask iRobot Chairman Helen Greiner, who is showing me her collection of military hardware, "can you send the one with the shotguns out for a couple of ducks for dinner?"