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 Developing drone technoloy for tomorrow Death Industry 
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Post Developing drone technoloy for tomorrow Death Industry
Is this really space exploration, or is CalTech developing future technology for America's "Death Industry"? This same technology could (and probably will) be used here on Earth with drones of any type (land, sea, air) fitted with weapons.

Robot Armies Will Explore Alien Worlds
Alien worlds may be explored by armies of flying, driving and sailing robots, say scientists.
By Tom Chivers
Published: 10:11AM GMT 28 Oct 2009

source: ... orlds.html

Robotic airships and satellites will fly above the surface of the distant world, commanding squadrons of wheeled rovers and floating robot boats, according to Wolfgang Fink of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

The systems will transform planetary exploration, says Prof Fink, who envisages the cybernetic adventurers mapping the land and seascapes of Saturn’s moon, Titan - believed to have lakes of standing liquid - as well as closer planetary neighbours like Mars.

At the moment robotic exploration relies on single robots controlled from Earth. That will change, according to Prof Fink, director of Caltech's Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory.

He says: "We are departing from traditional approaches of a single robotic spacecraft with no redundancy that is Earth-commanded to one that allows for having multiple, expendable low-cost robots that can command themselves or other robots at various locations at the same time.

"The way we explore tomorrow will be unlike any cup of tea we've ever tasted."

Together with his team at Caltech, Prof Fink has been developing software that would let a robotic explorer act independently and as part of a team. They would select priorities for exploration and anticipate and handle problems on their own.

As things happen now, engineers send orders to, for example, the Mars Phoenix Lander, which will carry them out as instructed. Because Mars is several light-minutes away, the instructions will not be carried out immediately, so the human pilots navigate using a computer model of the rover's surroundings. If there is any unexpected change in those surroundings – a landslide, for example – it will not be able to respond.

Prof Fink says: "In the future, multiple robots will be in the driver's seat," with an orbiter and a robotic dirigible balloon giving bird’s-eye views of the planetary surface and sending the information down to teams of rovers, as well as lake landers on partly liquid-covered planets like Titan.

"We are basically heading toward making robots that command other robots.

"One day an entire fleet of robots will be autonomously commanded at once. This armada of robots will be our eyes, ears, arms and legs in space, in the air, and on the ground, capable of responding to their environment without us, to explore and embrace the unknown."

The work by Prof Fink and his team is published in the journal Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine and in the Proceedings of the SPIE.

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Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:19 am
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