Friday, 25 January 2008

Nowadays Robots


I just attended a seminar at my university on "Software Development for Ground Robotics", by Stephen Bridges, a systems engineer at QinetiQ.

What I wrote some days ago seems to be right: the robotics era is coming.
The US Department of Defense has already planned which requirements, in the military field, the robots will fulfill from now to 2032!

Second things, Stephen explained that the safety fault measures of the robots designed nowadays are very strict. So strict that you cannot use advanced programming (no object oriented languages, neither dynamic allocation or whatever slightly advanced, and so on) in these robots. First of all, they have to work safely. Second of all, they have to work safely. Third: you know it.

An example: one of the most produced robot for the US army is basically a radio controlled robotic arm over two caterpillars, about 1 meter long, like the one in the image.Not even a trace of artificial intelligence or automation. Why? Because it works and it is safe.

But this is the dawn of robotics, so I think it is normal that these robots can seem "naive". You can think about the "Flyer" of the Wright brothers: is not it naive with respect to a modern Boeing 777 or even compared to a second world war aircraft, like the Spitfire?

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