Monday, January 24, 2005

US to roll out war robots in Iraq

Some years ago, now President APJ Abdul Kalaam, in his then role as chief scientific advisor to the nation and the head of DRDO, presented a vision to the country - an unmanned future for the frontline tanks and figther aircraft of the Indian armed forces. He had predicted these to be operational by 2010-2015. The idea was so simple, and yet so powerful - the human intelligence needed could be provided by soldiers sitting some miles away in simulators in a safe location - all the required software and hardware was already in place, and all that was needed was a secure high speed communication link between man and machine.

In Iraq now, the US intends to put that idea into action - only they are going to replace foot soldiers! 18 1-m high robots will be rolled out in the first round. This is after similar robots were already in use as bomb detectors for a while. The actual soldiers will be about half a mile away from the scene of action, and there is a proposal to include the latest features available in simulation games to the robot operators. Talk about the ultimate in converting soldiers into hi-tech war machines.