NO DINOCHROME BRIGADE JUST YET:
This is how fragile the robotics industry is: Last year, three armed ground bots were deployed to Iraq. But the remote-operated SWORDS units were almost immediately pulled off the battlefield, before firing a single shot at the enemy. Here at the conference, the Armyâ€™s Program Executive Officer for Ground Forces, Kevin Fahey, was asked what happened to SWORDS. After all, no specific reason for the 11th-hour withdrawal ever came from the military or its contractors at Foster-Miller. Faheyâ€™s answer was vague, but he confirmed that the robots never opened fire when they werenâ€™t supposed to. His understanding is that â€œthe gun started moving when it was not intended to move.â€ In other words, the SWORDS swung around in the wrong direction, and the plug got pulled fast. No humans were hurt, but as Fahey pointed out, â€œonce youâ€™ve done something thatâ€™s really bad, it can take 10 or 20 years to try it again.â€
So SWORDS was yanked because it made people nervous. Meanwhile, the V-22 Osprey program has killed 30 people during test flights, but the tiltrotor aircraft is currently in active service.
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