Robot Segway Rovers Train Special Forces For Urban Warfare
An innovative new training regimen devised by Marathon Robotics is helping military Special Forces hone their skills against today's urban, mobile guerillas and terrorists. Marathon's active & interactive robots maneuver about on modified Segway scooters and can adjust their movements in response to gunfire from the good guys.
The program, refined under the guidance of the Australian Department of Defense, seeks to approximate the actions enemy fighters will take when confronted by SpecOps troops in a typical urban setting.
The Segways are used because they enable the robots to exercise freedom of movement in a way that closely resembles that of actual humans.
The robots are also interactive - should a shot be fired, hitting one of the robots, a signal is sent to the other robots who then adjust and speed up their movements much like guerillas would in the same situations. The robots don't fire back... that's an upgrade for the future.
Check out this video from Marathon that explains the concept and shows the roving robots in action. The video is about 6 minutes long but stick with it - I guarantee you've never seen anything like it:
Marathon's promotioonal material describes the Segway Gang as "the Future of Realistic Live-Fire Training", and they've got the United States Marine Corps interested - the Marines will be conducting an evaluation of the rovers later this year.
One of the best things about Marathon's rovers is that they are part of an autonomous system. A single instructor can program a long-running battle scenario and the robots react individually within the scenario.
Plus, you gotta love the hoodies and ball caps Marathon dresses the robots up in. Conspiracy theorists should have a field day wondering just who The Authorities are training Special Forces to fight against. (via Gigazine)