Small is beautiful
OCU Pros came back from last month’s AUVSI North America event with wondrous tales of tiny, “throwable” robots. We take a look at the forces driving down the size of unmanned systems in “The incredibly shrinking UGV.”
The US Army’s Multi-Mission Unmanned Ground Vehicle may be dead, but the concept of a MULE robot is proving as stubborn as its animal namesake. We link to descriptions of two other programs working on similar ideas.
In addition to the classic robot jobs of “dirty, dangerous, and disgusting,” we can now add “delightful and delicious.” Spanish scientists are working on a “robot sommelier,” i.e. a wine taster. Will we see unemployed human sommeliers standing in the streets on Napa and France holding up cardboard signs stating, “Will taste wine for food”?
Speaking of unemployed people, things aren’t looking too good for Naval aviators. Navy jet pilots are famous for their ability to land on aircraft carriers in rough seas. Unfortunately, the F-35 program (and its Naval variant, the F-35C) is becoming equally famous for expense and delays. Carrier-based Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV) may be a good substitute for the F-35C, especially since their greater operating range may make them more effective against the DF-21, China’s feared ship killing missile. We link to articles by Defense Industry Daily and Strategy Page.
On a more somber note, like everyone else, OCU Pros noted the tenth anniversary of the tragic events on September 11, 2001. We took time to remember the fallen and honor those still actively engaged in the fight against terror. To a certain extent, it doesn’t matter what we think or feel, but what we actually do. An in-theater specialist expressed it best in a letter read by John Stewart on his The Daily Show: “We cooperate and we fight as hard as we can, because there will perhaps be disappointment, but there will be no shame.”