Pentagon has added to its arsenal of autonomous killer robots with a dune buggy capable of driving itself.
Their standard all terrain vehicle is being given a huge upgrade to allow it to be driven autonomously.
The new Polaris MRZR X, designed to be manned or unmanned, is able to haul at least 1,000 pounds of soldiers gear across the battle field.
It is believed that these will act as support vehicles to the the US’ robotic killer Humvees, which are currently being tested, reports the Daily Star.
General manager of Polaris Government and Defense Dr John Olson said: “The MRZR is the preferred platform among infantry units and Special Forces worldwide, which helps make its integration and the transition from manned to unmanned systems easier for the warfighter.
“The MRZR X maintains the MRZR mission profile and payload our customers are accustomed to, plus it has additional robotic and networked capabilities to further support war fighters.”
The Pentagon is also searching for the next robotic vehicles to make soldiers more mobile in combat.
— Jon Harper (@Jon_Harper_) February 6, 2018
US President Donald Trump has put the US military at the front of his campaign, promising more spending as he faces tensions around the globe.
A Polaris company statements adds: “The advanced MRZR X fully integrates the autonomy systems and optimally places the sensors to safeguard the technology while keeping the physical and software architecture open so it can spiral in future technology.
“The vehicle drivetrain is powerful and reliable, allowing for longer missions, high speeds and silent drive when needed — all on the very familiar, sustainable and intuitive MRZR platform.”
The Pentagon is also researching “exoskeletons” to make soldiers more effective in the field. You may remember an exoskeleton being used in the science fiction movie Aliens, or Iron man.
The top contender (seen above) is the Raytheon XOS 2.
XOS 2 is a second-generation robotics suit being developed by Raytheon for the US Army. The company publicly demonstrated the capabilities of the exoskeleton for the first time at its research facility in Salt Lake City in Utah.
The wearable robotic suit increases the human strength, agility and endurance capabilities of the soldier inside it. The XOS 2 uses high-pressure hydraulics to allow the wearer to lift heavy objects at a ratio of 17:1 (actual weight to perceived weight). This allows repeated lifting of the load without exhaustion or injury.
As well, DARPA’s Sea Hunter, a full-scale prototype of an autonomous surface vessel that’s designed to be able to launch from a pier and go out on its own for weeks or months at a time, for thousands of miles at a stretch.
The 132-foot-long, diesel-powered vessel was built by U.S. defense contractor Leidos under DARPA’s ACTUV program, a somewhat clunky nested acronym that stands for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel.
The ship, now a joint project with the U.S. Office of Naval Research, was originally conceived as a tracker of stealthy diesel-electric submarines, but it’s a flexible platform. “What we’ve kind of realized over the course of the program is that it’s a truck,” program manager Scott Littlefield tells IEEE Spectrum. “It’s got lots of payload capacity for a variety of different missions.”
The U.S. Army is working on an infantry support vehicle as well.
Enter the Black Knight – a *very *early prototype of an “Unmanned Combat Vehicle,” developed by arms-maker BAE Systems for the U.S. Army. From the outside, the Knight doesn’t look all that different from the armored vehicles used by the American military in combat zones around the world. But soldiers can also get out of the nine-and-a-half-ton Knight, and control the vehicle from afar – including a custom, one-off 30mm gun and coaxial machine gun.
Or the troops can stay just chill out, and let the thing drive itself. The Knight uses “advanced robotic technology for autonomous mobility,” according to BAE. “This capability allows the Black Knight to plan routes, maneuver on the planned route, and avoid obstacles – all without operator intervention.”
The future of the United States Air Force may be a human-piloted, $100 million stealth jet guiding flocks of $3 million drones that glide effortlessly into position powered by turbo fans. Thanks to the Air Force Research Lab and drone-maker Kratos, that future of combined human/robot formation is already being tested.
The primary target drone Fendley is talking about is the BQM-167 aerial target, which can cost between $750,000 and $900,000, depending on the options selected and the size of the order.
That body is the basis for the Mako, one of two combat drones designed and built by Kratos. The Mako can fly at altitudes anywhere from 20 feet to 50,000 feet, at up to 690 mph, and with a maximum range of 1400 nautical miles (or 700 miles each way on a round trip). Depending on the size of the order, it will cost between $1.5 and $2 million, according to Fendley.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
February 16th, 2018