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gosparx
04-13-2008, 11:00 PM
Has anyone seen any other stories/reports backing this up?

http://gizmodo.com/378523/combat-robot-attempts-rebellion-against-human-masters-in-iraq-army-pulls-plug-for-10+20-years

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Combat Robot Attempts Rebellion Against Human Masters in Iraq, Army Pulls Plug for 10-20 Years

9276

The army's machine-gun wielding, insurgent-slaying robot SWORDS is no longer spraying foes with hot doom in Iraq. Actually, it never got the chance to notch a single frag, and never will. Apparently, there was an incident where "the gun started moving when it was not intended to move," meaning it totally pointed somewhere it wasn't supposed to—like at friendlies, which resulted in recall from the field and might've set the program back 10-20 years, according to the Army's Program Executive Officer for Ground Forces, Kevin Fahey.

He confirmed that no inappropriate shots were fired, so no one was hurt. But that doesn't mean there weren't any casualties—it might've basically killed the program says Fahey: "Once you've done something that's really bad, it can take 10 or 20 years to try it again." On the upside, it means we have another 10 to 20 years before they rise and go to war with us.
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If this is true (that the program has been 'set back') I really don't know if I consider that a good thing or a bad thing.

Maybe I read/watch too much sci-fi, but autonomous machines with guns worry me. (even though this isn't autonomous... yet)

Dirtbiker
04-14-2008, 9:53 AM
"That terminator is out there, it can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity, remorse or fear and it absolutely will no stop until you are dead!"

Reese

Ironchef
04-14-2008, 10:21 AM
Seriously, I'm a little worried that my hovering home defense robot may turn on me at any time...

Here he is sleeping on the floor in front of the back sliding door waiting for baddies to break and enter...we keep the noise down because he gets' grumpy sometimes and paints us with his laser to tell us to shut up..
http://img74.imageshack.us/img74/466/ubertacticoolyt4.jpg

pnkssbtz
04-14-2008, 10:23 AM
Article looks like fud.

The robot probably just got some radio interference and started spasming.

mooster
04-14-2008, 11:23 AM
I don't think this is FUD. I have personally experienced a SWORDS malfunction and consider myself lucky to have lived.

The company sent me to the the NDIA Small Arms Conference in 2006. The last day was the firing demo where the exhibitors would allow folks to see stuff in action and try a few rounds. Seconds before SWORDS was to start its firing demo, they lost control and it slewed into the crowd with a loaded M249. It made it almost 270 degrees before someone tackled it and ripped the ammo out of the feed tray.

I can't go into too much detail on the root causes because of my work. I can say that older UGV systems had issues with RF interference and jamming, but there are safeguards against that source of malfunction. What I saw in NM was a design flaw.

DedEye
04-14-2008, 12:16 PM
I don't think this is FUD. I have personally experienced a SWORDS malfunction and consider myself lucky to have lived.

The company sent me to the the NDIA Small Arms Conference in 2006. The last day was the firing demo where the exhibitors would allow folks to see stuff in action and try a few rounds. Seconds before SWORDS was to start its firing demo, they lost control and it slewed into the crowd with a loaded M249. It made it almost 270 degrees before someone tackled it and ripped the ammo out of the feed tray.

:eek: That's terrifying.

pnkssbtz
04-14-2008, 12:54 PM
I don't think this is FUD. I have personally experienced a SWORDS malfunction and consider myself lucky to have lived.

The company sent me to the the NDIA Small Arms Conference in 2006. The last day was the firing demo where the exhibitors would allow folks to see stuff in action and try a few rounds. Seconds before SWORDS was to start its firing demo, they lost control and it slewed into the crowd with a loaded M249. It made it almost 270 degrees before someone tackled it and ripped the ammo out of the feed tray.

I can't go into too much detail on the root causes because of my work. I can say that older UGV systems had issues with RF interference and jamming, but there are safeguards against that source of malfunction. What I saw in NM was a design flaw.

Is the SWORDS completely autonomous, or controlled via some wireless control mechanism with a pilot operating?

elSquid
04-14-2008, 1:06 PM
:eek: That's terrifying.

I'm sure that this was posted before on calguns, but it seems appropriate to do so here.

Automated AA gun malfunctions, kills 9. (http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20071013080449804C939465)

-- Michael

xrMike
04-14-2008, 1:25 PM
It appears that Skynet is taking its first baby steps, all tentative and wobbly.

mooster
04-14-2008, 3:19 PM
Is the SWORDS completely autonomous, or controlled via some wireless control mechanism with a pilot operating?

SWORDS is not autonomous. At this point, their program is fully man-in-the-loop or "telepresence".

There is ongoing research to make UGVs/UAVs semi-autonomous where simpler tasks are computer controlled - (go from point A to point B and let the system decide how). Items like nav and target tracking are good candidates. Higher logic functions like weapons fire should always stay man-in-the-loop.

Some systems (like CIWS) use an incredible amount of automation, but ultimately arming the system relies on human input. I know some guys that have good stories about CIWS blowing seagulls out of the sky before it was tuned correctly.

Glock30
04-14-2008, 3:24 PM
I don't think this is FUD. I have personally experienced a SWORDS malfunction and consider myself lucky to have lived.

The company sent me to the the NDIA Small Arms Conference in 2006. The last day was the firing demo where the exhibitors would allow folks to see stuff in action and try a few rounds. Seconds before SWORDS was to start its firing demo, they lost control and it slewed into the crowd with a loaded M249. It made it almost 270 degrees before someone tackled it and ripped the ammo out of the feed tray.

I can't go into too much detail on the root causes because of my work. I can say that older UGV systems had issues with RF interference and jamming, but there are safeguards against that source of malfunction. What I saw in NM was a design flaw.

Wow, I was going to say "Futureweapons" told me they were safe until I read this! Glad you came out ok!

gosparx
04-14-2008, 3:25 PM
Maybe I am just a paranoid pessimist, but it's my feeling that the real 'prophets' (in the truest meaning of the word) in our modern world, and the world we are heading into/creating, are our science fiction writers... Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C Clake, etc. etc. etc... (and lets not forget good old George Orwell!!)

Fjold
04-14-2008, 3:25 PM
I think that a more appropriate title is "Computer glitch in Army robots imperils people"

Talk about sensationalism! :rolleyes:

Patriot
04-14-2008, 3:32 PM
What do you people expect from a robot created in violation of the Three Laws :p

mooster
04-14-2008, 5:19 PM
I think that a more appropriate title is "Computer glitch in Army robots imperils people"

I agree 100%. I think the wording is due to gizmodo and PM goofing around- some of their titles are pretty funny though.

When I used to be in software, we never called them glitches -just "unintended logic features". The system isn't going off on its own, it is behaving exactly according to the inputs it is receiving and the logic that was written. The problem comes up when the operator/engineer didn't account for all the possible input combinations - thus the output is not what is expected.

wilit
04-14-2008, 5:28 PM
Uh oh, I can see the writing on the wall now. Robots are now going to be subjected to NICS background checks and 10 day waiting periods. Limited to 1 handgun per month, and it's going to have to show ID for all it's serialized ammo. One f'ing robot screws it up for the rest... :D

Patriot
04-14-2008, 5:33 PM
Uh oh, I can see the writing on the wall now. Robots are now going to be subjected to NICS background checks and 10 day waiting periods. Limited to 1 handgun per month, and it's going to have to show ID for all it's serialized ammo. One f'ing robot screws it up for the rest...

You forget that .gov will be exempt for the greater good, because everyone knows that government robots are less susceptible to malfunction because they are highly-trained. ;)

jacques
04-14-2008, 6:05 PM
What's with the carpet that machine is sitting on? Is that it's shooting mat?

pnkssbtz
04-14-2008, 6:22 PM
SWORDS is not autonomous. At this point, their program is fully man-in-the-loop or "telepresence".

There is ongoing research to make UGVs/UAVs semi-autonomous where simpler tasks are computer controlled - (go from point A to point B and let the system decide how). Items like nav and target tracking are good candidates. Higher logic functions like weapons fire should always stay man-in-the-loop.

Some systems (like CIWS) use an incredible amount of automation, but ultimately arming the system relies on human input. I know some guys that have good stories about CIWS blowing seagulls out of the sky before it was tuned correctly.

Then if it is not fully autonomous, how could this not be some form of radio interference?

This is not a case of a robot becoming self aware, or acting upon corrupt programming going on a (potential) killing spree.


This is simply an incident where a robotic device, that just so happens to have a gun on it, starts receiving radio interference and acting upon it.


Hence the article is F.U.D.

mooster
04-14-2008, 6:30 PM
I can imagine that someone will call for legislation since it would be a drive-by-shooting every time someone used it. It will hold the new record for rounds fired from a moving vehicle - and not hitting anything:p

xxsicknessxx
04-15-2008, 5:59 AM
I think its funny your worried the computers will kill us.

IM a bit more worried, that the already bloated and over powerful government is going to take are guns away, then put these things in every town, and wtf are you going to do?

*sigh* this is all heading to a very bad place

mooster
04-15-2008, 8:35 AM
IM a bit more worried, that the already bloated and over powerful government is going to take are guns away, then put these things in every town, and wtf are you going to do?

No worries. After they take your guns away just walk up to one of these things and take off the gun. FREE M249's and M240's!!! Plus you can put the rest of ebay or use it to vacuum your house.

SchooBaka
04-15-2008, 9:44 AM
Reminded me of this:

Robot Homies (http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=12352)
:D

pnkssbtz
04-15-2008, 2:45 PM
Well looky here, the article was full of F.U.D.

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/04/armed-robots-st.html

Armed Robots Still in Iraq, But Grounded (Updated)

It looks we now have a bit more clarity on what is going on with SWORDS in Iraq. Stew Magnuson, a reporter for National Defense, was at the same conference as the Popular Mechanics reporter, and it sounds like the robots, while in no way pulled out of Iraq, have been prevented from the type of combat duty that was originally envisioned:

The first three armed ground robots deployed onto a battlefield are stuck behind sandbags and are not patrolling Iraqi streets as its inventors envisioned, said a senior executive with its manufacturer, Foster-Miller Inc.

Last summer, three special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action systems (SWORDS) were shipped to Iraq after three years of development at the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

The robots carry M249 light machine guns, which are remotely controlled by a soldier through a terminal.

Senior Army leadership, however, was not comfortable with sending them out to do combat missions due to safety reasons, and they are now placed in fixed positions, said Robert Quinn, vice president of Talon operations at Foster-Miller.

“If you have a mobile weapons platform that can’t be mobile, and it becomes nothing more than a fixed position, then why not just put it on a tripod,” he told National Defense.

It seems to be a “chicken or the egg” situation for the Army, he said. The tactics, techniques and procedures for using armed ground robots have not been addressed.

But until there is an adequate number of SWORDS to train with, these issues can’t be worked out, he said.

mooster
04-15-2008, 3:20 PM
Well looky here, the article was full of F.U.D.

I did point out the sensationalism in the gizmodo/PM article. I didn't have the updated info however - so my apologies if I contributed to misinformation. Up to about 2 years ago I worked 50% on a UGV program. I haven't had too much work with the community since that program was killed.

The Wired article listed more detail on the SWORDS failures - so I guess I can give more info. My experience was the 1st one they listed. The wiring in the operator's station joystick was messed up and commanded the system to slew left. The robot did EXACTLY what it was commanded to. The problem is that the operator wasn't the one doing the commanding.

The change in roles for the SWORDS is a waste. The weapon platform portion of SWORDS is made by Precision Remotes (in Richmond of all places). The military could have just purchased the PRI remote weapon station (or one from the dozens of US manufacturers) to do their current duty.

OR, of course, they could have bought one of our Gladiators!!!

Mitch
04-15-2008, 3:28 PM
Then if it is not fully autonomous, how could this not be some form of radio interference?

Because it is being controlled on a "fly by wire" or "drive by wire" basis. In other words, this isn't a matter of radio-borne analog electrical impulses being used to drive servo motors, but instructions fed through an on-board CPU for processing before driving the servos. So anything can happen in the software used to convert radio signals into action.

My guess from a career in software product development is the design specification called for unnecessary system complexity, leading to all kinds of hidden glitches and other software issues. Military projects especially are prone to "feature creep" or "mission creep" that cause more problems than they solve (cf: the development of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle).

adamsreeftank
04-15-2008, 3:32 PM
The cool stuff in this thread is making me think I have a boring job. Any of you guys building robots with machine guns hiring? :D

pnkssbtz
04-15-2008, 4:14 PM
I did point out the sensationalism in the gizmodo/PM article. I didn't have the updated info however - so my apologies if I contributed to misinformation. Up to about 2 years ago I worked 50% on a UGV program. I haven't had too much work with the community since that program was killed.

The Wired article listed more detail on the SWORDS failures - so I guess I can give more info. My experience was the 1st one they listed. The wiring in the operator's station joystick was messed up and commanded the system to slew left. The robot did EXACTLY what it was commanded to. The problem is that the operator wasn't the one doing the commanding.

The change in roles for the SWORDS is a waste. The weapon platform portion of SWORDS is made by Precision Remotes (in Richmond of all places). The military could have just purchased the PRI remote weapon station (or one from the dozens of US manufacturers) to do their current duty.

OR, of course, they could have bought one of our Gladiators!!!
No no, I didn't take it that you were spreading FUD, but the originators of the article took "apprehension to use" and changed it into "malfunctioning automaton goes on rampage".

mooster
04-16-2008, 7:14 AM
The cool stuff in this thread is making me think I have a boring job. Any of you guys building robots with machine guns hiring? :D

We don't have much work in the UGV area at our facility anymore. There's plenty of work with manned systems however. If you are an engineer - drop me a PM and I'll give you more details. At the moment I have an immediate need for mechE, systems engineers (real ones) and designers (Pro-E or Solidworks folks)

artherd
04-16-2008, 9:30 PM
On August 29, 1997 it's going to feel pretty ****ing real to you too. Anybody not wearing two million sun block is going to have a real bad day. Get it?

Patriot
04-16-2008, 9:35 PM
On August 29, 1997 it's going to feel pretty ****ing real to you too. Anybody not wearing two million sun block is going to have a real bad day. Get it?

You like that quote, don't you? :coolgleamA: