UK Army could be 25-percent robotic by 2030, says British general

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Do you want Skynet? Because this is how you get Skynet

The big picture: The UK military is moving forward with plans to develop and deploy several thousand combat robots, some which might be autonomous. So far, militaries worldwide have avoided using unmanned technologies in combat situations. Semi-autonomous drones have a pilot who is always at the controls, so humans make the final strike decisions, not AI.

British Army leaders think that by 2030 nearly a quarter of the UK’s ground troops will be robots. That is almost 30,000 autonomous and remote-controlled fighting machines deployed within about a decade.

“I suspect we could have an army of 120,000, of which 30,000 might be robots, who knows?” General Sir Nick Carter told The Guardian in an interview.

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The Navy’s underwater drone is the future of submarine warfare

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The Navy could theoretically procure many armed Orcas for the price of a single Virginia.

Here’s What You Need To Remember: The Orca isn’t the first underwater drone under construction, and it certainly won’t be the last.

At a military parade celebrating its 70th anniversary, the People’s Republic of China unveiled, amongst many other exotic weapons, two HSU-001 submarines—the world’s first large diameter autonomous submarines to enter military service.

The unarmed robot submarines visibly had communication masts and sonar aperture suggestive of their intended role as tireless underwater surveillance systems intended to report on the movements of warships and submarines of other navies in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

While the United States may not be the first to operationally drone a Large Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV), it is not far behind with a slightly smaller sub Extra Large UUV. In February 2019, the Navy awarded Boeing a $274.4 million contract to build four (later increased to five) Orca autonomous vehicles, beating out a more elongated and cylindrical design proposed by Lockheed Martin.

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General Atomics and Boeing’s new liquid laser could win high-energy weapon race

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The powerful, compact HELLADS liquid laser

The military has been striving to build a laser powerful enough to make an effective weapon literally since the first ruby laser was demonstrated back in 1960. Now General Atomics is working with Boeing BA +6.8% to finally realize the goal of a truly weapons-grade laser using new ‘liquid laser’ technology to break through the barrier holding back current devices.

The original ruby laser had an output of a fraction of watt, and could not be scaled up. Many other types of laser have been developed over the last sixty years, with generous military funding channeled into those that showed weapons potential. The gas dynamic laser, which resembled a lasing reaction taking place inside a rocket motor, was highly classified in the 1970s. One researcher joked that the best way to harm an enemy with such a massive a laser was to drop it on them.

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Researchers create robots that can transform their wheels into legs

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Concept illustration of the adaptable Wheel-and-Leg Transformable Robot currently being developed under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract.

A team of researchers is creating mobile robots for military applications that can determine, with or without human intervention, whether wheels or legs are more suitable to travel across terrains. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has partnered with Kiju Lee at Texas A&M University to enhance these robots’ ability to self-sufficiently travel through urban military environments.

The DARPA OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program awarded Lee, associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution and the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering, and a team of graduate students another contract after her prior successful accomplishments on developing a mixed-reality swarm simulator with embedded consensus-based decision making for adaptive human-swarm teaming as part of the OFFSET Sprint-3. This project was showcased at OFFSET’s third field experiment (FX3) with other participating teams.

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The US Army is testing augmented reality goggles for dogs

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The AR goggles will allow military canine handlers to issue commands remotely.

 

The US Army is trialing a new technology that could “fundamentally change how military canines are deployed in the future” — a pair of augmented reality goggles for dogs.

Dogs are put to many uses in modern militaries, from detecting explosives and searching for targets to accompanying infantry patrols in dangerous areas. Usually, handlers issue commands to their dogs using hand signals or laser pointers, but these techniques require line of sight with the dog, limiting how far canines can stray from their humans.

AR reality goggles, though, could let military dogs operate at a distance without handlers losing control. The goggles have a built-in camera that transmits live footage remotely, and a heads-up display that can be used to show commands to the dogs. A dog could be directed to search a specific location, for example, while their handler stays hidden.

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Work begins on Starlink-like constellation of small hypersonic missile-tracking satellites

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The Pentagon’s grand space strategy envisions a shift from larger, expensive satellites to massive constellations of smaller, easier to replace ones.

 The U.S. military has hired L3Harris and SpaceX to build small satellites with powerful infrared sensors capable of spotting and tracking ballistic missiles and hypersonic weapons. These satellites could become part of a large and broader early warning constellation with hundreds of space-based sensors and communications nodes watching for incoming threats, monitoring their flight, and potentially providing targeting data to missile defense assets.

The Pentagon announced that the Space Development Agency (SDA) had awarded the contracts to L3Harris and SpaceX, worth around $193.5 million and just over $149 million, respectively, on Oct. 5, 2020. Each company will be responsible for building four satellites, each with a wide field of view (WFOV) overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensor, in support of work on what SDA calls Tranche 0 of the Tracking Layer of the planned overarching early warning constellation.

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The US military’s heat weapon is real and painful. Here’s what it does.

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It is in the same category as a sonic tool that’s known as “the voice of God.”

Earlier this week, an NPR report uncovered an exchange from June 1, in which a military police officer wanted to know if the D.C. National Guard owned a pain-inducing heat weapon for potentially using on protesters. He also asked about a powerful auditory communication system that’s been compared to the “voice of God.”

The weapon, the Active Denial System (ADS), is a real thing, as is the sound system, which is called a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD).

In documents published by NPR, a member of the National Guard recounted the email thread in which the question was asked, and stated: “I responded that the DC National Guard was not in possession of either an LRAD or an ADS.”

The fact that a controversial weapon was floated as a possible means of dealing with what the Washington Post described as “peaceful protesters” has sparked outrage, with the ACLU writing on Twitter: “REMINDER: Our government shouldn’t be conspiring to use heat rays against us for exercising our constitutional rights.”

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Future autonomous machines may build trust through emotion

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Future autonomous machines may build trust through emotion

Army researchers found that the effect of emotion expressions is moderated by strategy. People will only process and be influenced by emotion expressions if the counterpart’s actions are insufficient to reveal the counterpart’s intentions.

Army research has extended the state-of-the-art in autonomy by providing a more complete picture of how actions and nonverbal signals contribute to promoting cooperation. Researchers suggested guidelines for designing autonomous machines such as robots, self-driving cars, drones and personal assistants that will effectively collaborate with soldiers.

Dr. Celso de Melo, computer scientist with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory at CCDC ARL West in Playa Vista, California, in collaboration with Dr. Kazunori Teradafrom Gifu University in Japan, recently published a paper in Scientific Reports where they show that emotion expressions can shape cooperation.

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Robot dogs join US Air Force for major exercise, could be ‘key to next-gen warfare’

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US Air Force exercised robot dogs last week

The robot dogs — four-legged, headless, mechanical creatures — were made to exit an aircraft and look for signs of danger at Nellis Air Force Base in the US state of Nevada.

New Delhi: In a bid to increase use of artificial intelligence in the military, the US Air force conducted a major exercise with robot dogs trained to scout for threats before their human counterparts enter the field.

The four-legged, headless, mechanical creatures were made to exit an aircraft and look for signs of danger at the Nellis Air Force Base in the US state of Nevada last week.

They are part of an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) that the US Air force is building, which will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to detect counter threats to the US military.

“Valuing data as an essential war fighting resource, one no less vital than jet fuel or satellites, is the key to next-gen warfare,” Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, told CNN.

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U.S. military getting closer to autonomous off road combat vehicles

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Researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory and the University of Texas at Austin have developed an algorithm that could have big implications for autonomous vehicles. With the algorithm, autonomous ground vehicles are able to improve their own navigation systems by watching a human drive.

The approach developed by the researchers is called adaptive planner parameter learning from demonstration, or APPLD. It was tested on an Army experimental autonomous ground vehicle.

The research was published in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. The work is titled “APPLD: Adaptive Planner Parameter Learning From Demonstration.”

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Heron Systems’ AI pilot just beat a human in a simulated dogfight

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The final round of DARPA’s AlphaDogfight Trial is complete, and once again, the winning AI pilot celebrated its victory against a field of virtual contenders by going on to defeat a human F-16 pilot. An AI pilot developed by Heron Systems won the shootout, defeating a fellow AI from Lockheed.

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New research advances U.S. Army’s quest for ultra-secure quantum networking

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Two U.S. Army research projects at the University of Chicago advance quantum networking, which will play a key role in future battlefield operations.

 Quantum networks will potentially deliver multiple novel capabilities not achievable with classical networks, one of which is secure quantum communication. In quantum communication protocols, information is typically sent through entangled photon particles. It is nearly impossible to eavesdrop on quantum communication, and those who try leave evidence of their tampering; however, sending quantum information via photons over traditional channels, such as fiber-optic lines, is difficult – the photons carrying the information are often corrupted or lost, making the signals weak or incoherent.

In the first project, the University of Chicago research team, funded and managed by the U.S. Army’s Combat Capability Development’s Army Research Laboratory’s Center for Distributed Quantum Information, demonstrated a new quantum communication technique that bypasses those traditional channels. The research linked two communication nodes with a channel and sent information quantum-mechanically between the nodes—without ever occupying the linking channel.

“This result is particularly exciting not only because of the high transfer efficiency the team achieved, but also because the system they developed will enable further exploration of quantum protocols in the presence of variable signal loss,” said Dr. Sara Gamble, program manager at the lab’s Army Research Office and co-manager of the Center for Distributed Quantum Information. “Overcoming loss is a key obstacle in realizing robust quantum communication and quantum networks.”

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