Is U.S. dominance in military robotics starting to crumble?

Foreign Policy Magazine's recent examination of "The Looming Robotics Gap" by University of Pennsylvania international relations associate professor Michael C. Horowitz, and a recent Pentagon insider on national security issues, is an up-to-date review of the worldwide state of military robotics.

05/28/2014


Besides comparing Chinese and American unmanned flying robots that can landPLE1405_WEB_The Robot Report Drones Courtesy: The Robot Report on an aircraft carrier, and Chinese, Israeli, and American Reaper look-alike high-flying surveillance bombers, Horowitz describes the attitudes (sensitivities), direction, and budgeting hold-ups and cuts thwarting America's ability to sustain its leadership while having to absorb a 33% drop in technology investment.

Companies such as Google have set their sights on developing consumer robotics to serve and fuel an international market that some estimate will generate $37 billion in annual sales by 2018. These commercial developments could have military ramifications. As automated technology becomes increasingly easy to procure, small militaries and even nonstate actors will be able to exploit robotics for military ends.

For example, the commercial sector is leading the way in developing automated driving technology, and the software that governs a self-driving car might well facilitate the design of a remotely driven tank. As off-the-shelf robotics become increasingly advanced, it will become easier for foreign militaries to close the gap in capabilities with the United States.

More sinister is the possibility that commercially available robotics will make cutting-edge technologies available to terrorists. Even now, do-it-yourself drone technology is widely available, used by ordinary citizens and companies for everything from monitoring wildlife to filming snowboarders. In April, the FBI stopped a Moroccan citizen in the United States who allegedly was plotting to strap bombs onto simple consumer drones and fly them into a federal building.

Perhaps the biggest transition I could glean from the Horowitz article was the reversal from the past DARPA investment formula of solving scientific problems to enhance future military use, then to transfer the technology over to the commercial sector, to a newer formula taking advantage of commercial investment (such as that done by Google) to military adaption alongside commercial development.

Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report. This article originally appeared here [hyperlink: www.therobotreport.com/news/americas-dominance-in-military-robotics-is-starting-to-crumble]. Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, associate content manager, CFE Media, jdmaahs@cfemedia.com



DAVID , OH, United States, 06/04/14 01:30 PM:

At one time the wrist watch was the talk of the town. Then a talking wrist watch. Now you can view whoever you are talking to from that same watch. What i am getting at is that instead of trying to make a more sophisticated plane, train, or automobil, lets think outside of the box. How about trying to develope a force field that would protect us. We have made all of the other fictional gaggets come true, so why not a force field.
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Getting ready for industrial IoT; Visualizing the (applied) automation continuum; Preventing VFD faults and failures; Using wireless for closed-loop applications
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.