Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wasp Aerial Vehicle

WASP aerial vehicle

According to Wired News, the U.S. military is stepping up development of "micro-munitions" -- tiny vehicles that fly through the air and deliver mission-specific payloads. (Trust me, these little robotic insects aren't delivering the mail - their payloads will be much more deadly) Apparently, the Israelis and British already have a few working prototypes: "Israel is developing a robot the size of a hornet to attack terrorists. And although the prototype will not fly for three years, killer Micro Air Vehicles, or MAVs, are much closer than that. British Special Forces already use 6-inch MAV aircraft called WASPs for reconnaissance in Afghanistan. The $3,000 WASP is operated with a Gameboy-style controller and is nearly silent, so it can get very close without being detected. A new development will reportedly see the WASP fitted with a C4 explosive warhead for kamikaze attacks on snipers. One newspaper dubbed it "The Talibanator.
                                          Insect robot spies spotted at political rallies

Over recent months a number of people have seen insect like spies at political events in Washington and New York. Some suspect the insectlike drones are high-tech surveillance tools, perhaps deployed by the Department of Homeland Security.The U.S. Army is backing a project to develop robotic insects aimed at enhancing the military’s situational awareness capabilities. The autonomous, multifunctional miniature intelligence-gathering robots will be capable of operating in places too inaccessible or dangerous for humans.The robobugs could follow suspects, guide missiles to targets or navigate the crannies of collapsed buildings to find survivors.

The project is being conducted by MAST (Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology), a technology alliance funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. MAST will research and develop various robotic devices capable of operating in both urban environments and in complex terrain, such as mountains and caves.The only problem, of course, is if the bad guys wind up with a few of these MAVs: "Big dangers can ensue from terrorists. For instance, using MAVs with small explosive charges to assassinate high-level politicians or to transport biological/chemical agents into protected infrastructure."Perhaps future wars will be fought by opposing armies of robotic insects.


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