Fort Benning Mast Experiment
Met with Army privates, sergeants, and captains to find out what they want from MAST, and how it can be useful in Close Quarters Combat (CQC) and Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT)
Privates are the ones who kick down doors to clear rooms. They do what they are taught, and do it well. They like doing it. They don't want to be replaced by robots, nor do they see a need for them. They can probably be trained to use them though.
Sergeants lead the privates during the missions, and are right there kicking down doors too. They want everything to be done by people, because you never know when you might need to shoot someone. Robots might be useful to know more critical details about the mission, but anything that endangers the people that will be carrying out the mission is bad. The robots must not be detected, and natural stealth may not be good enough. Insurgents are often bored and will poke / squish / dissect any animals that come across them.
Captains plan the missions and command from afar. They'll find a way to use any additional intelligence they get. Probably the most important are high definition still images of people and things inside rooms. Again, every mission must be carried out by people, so robots are still auxilliary.
Summary: We make whatever we want and give it to them. They'll probably find some use for it. There will always be humans in the loop, especially high level command and control. Autonomy only needs to focus on following orders.
See also summary by Mark Falco (BAE}: Attach:fortbenning.doc
What other people are working on:
- Georgia Tech - Integration: Build a software system where Army people can add in desired requirements and technology developers can add in capabilities and the program will decide what can be used for what, and what would be the most important areas to focus research in
- Georgia Tech - Autonomy: Make small numbers of different kinds of robots work together
- UPenn - Autonomy: Make lots of robots work together, but some people want to build actual flying things
- UMD - Micromechanics: Research low level flight science e.g. aerodynamics, but some people want to build actual flying things