- The Navy wants to see how well robots and humans can cooperate.
- So researchers from a U.S. Navy lab have built a series of arenas that simulate challenging environments.
A new U.S. Navy lab can track every movement of battlefield robots as they struggle to survive arenas built to resemble scorching deserts, wave-pounded shores and tropical rain forests.
The lab's biggest environment has high-speed video cameras that automatically swivel to follow up to 50 ground robots, flying drones and even human soldiers. Such intense surveillance of man-made survival settings may remind science fiction readers of "The Hunger Games" -- a popular book series turned Hollywood film(s) where "game makers" construct huge, naturalistic arenas to feature reality television displays of battles to the death.
"Our tracking system currently has the largest capture volume in existence," said Alan Schultz, director of autonomous systems research at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.
Luckily, the NRL just wants to see how well humans and robots can cooperate, rather than oversee a futuristic death match. It officially opened its Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research on Friday (March 16).