The makers of Rover, a mobile “smart” target based on a Segway platform, have given the robotic target a makeover. The target, which can autonomously zoom around live-fire ranges and mimic the behavior of insurgents or civilians has been given more armor, more speed and more computing power.
The target is now under testing by the Marine Corps which hopes the robots could soon provide Marines with training scenarios that are more unpredictable and more realistic.
Rover, also called “Autonomous Robots Networked for Live-fire Training” or A.R.N.L.T. – which sounds a lot like “Arnold” as in Arnold Schwarzenegger – has had its sensitive electronics encased in a more robust metal casing to protect them from repeated hits. The new armor was added as a result of Marine Corps requests to beef up the robot which was originally developed in conjunction with the Australian Defense Force for use as a precision sniper training tool.
Marines, however, hope to use it for training in close-quarters combat scenarios, said Ralph Petroff, a Marathon Robotics spokesman at Modern Day Marine. Those types of scenario increase the chances that the robot’s more sensitive components will take repeated hits. Other updates include more computing power to accommodate future updates to artificial intelligence software and an improved mechanism that controls the way the robots torso drops when hit, said Tobias Kaupp, director of Marathon Targets.
At Modern Day Marines, A.R.N.L.T also got a face lift. The robot always sounded like something straight out of “Terminator.” Now, it looks the part.
By early summer, Marathon robotics hopes to deliver robots for the final phase of testing by Marine Corps Systems Command. If they pass muster, Marines could soon have A.R.N.L.T. in their sights by next fall. Other services could also procure the robot for use.
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