Robotic Pursuit Squads are a Forgone Conclusion

October 28 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Technology   Year: 2013   Rating: 2

How likely is it that 5 years from now, sometime in 2013, the U.S. government will employ a pack of search robots to track human fugitives, enemy combatants or other persons of interest?

Though such an endeavor would mark a serious increase in up-front and maintenance cost, it could also make operations safer for pursuing officers or soldiers and gradually increase the capture success rate. At the same time such a scenario would also thoroughly freak-out an American population increasingly on edge about government intrusion and technological capabilities.

Here’s an example of what such a future might look like, drawn by MemeBox illustrator Lars Olson:

As it turns out, just a few days ago the U.S. Army put out this call for bids on exactly such a project. Their desired outcome is for some smart folks to:

Develop a software and sensor package to enable a team of robots to search for and detect human presence in an indoor environment. [and] Develop a software/hardware suit that would enable a multi-robot team, together with a human operator, to search for and detect a non-cooperative human subject.

If in fact you doubt the near-term likelihood of such a technology suite and program, then look no further than nascent functional technologies such as the surprisingly agile and stable Big Dog robot and already marketed aerial microdrone cameras.

A quick look at these prototype vids should quickly get you on the path to belief:

The Big Dog Robot by Boston Dynamics:

The Aerial Microdrone ($40,000 US):

And, to complete Olson’s visual scenario, here’s the Little Dog Robot, kid companion to the Big Dog:

So if you’ve been planning a heist or Shawshank Redemption style prison break, you’d better get you act on the road, because by 2013 or soon thereafter you won’t have a prayer in the world. It’s a forgone conclusion.

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