Navy roboticist H.R. "Bart" Everett is not happy with me, or with a post I wrote back in March on his creation, the ROBART III."Maybe there's been a less intimidating guard drone developed by the U.S. military. But I haven't seen it," I said then of the 2XL-looking robot prototype, designed to detect intruders, and pop 'em with a simulated dart gun.Here's what Everett had to say this morning about Toughest. Drone. Ever, my "put-down article on ROBART III:"
1. This platform is a research prototype only.2. It was never intended to leave the laboratory environment.3. It serves as a tech-base development tool for hardened production systems which are designed for the real world.4. The production version of ROBART is called the Mobile Detection Assessment Response System (MDARS).5. There is an indoor version and an outdoor version, which you can see at www.spawar.navy.mil/robots/.6. As a research platform, ROBART III is one of the most sophisticated mobile robots in the world.7. It has been featured numerous times on the History and Discovery Channels.8. The basic thrust of the research is an ability to enter and map a completely unknown environment, without getting lost.9. The secondary thrust is to develop a vision-controlled weapons system that is self targeting [sic].10. The pneumatically-powered non-lethal weapon is for demonstration purposes only.11. It supports the vision-based weapon control research without undue risk to personnel.12. The third research thrust is to develop a natural language interface that eliminates the need for a robotic controller.13. You can read about the technical details at http://www.spawar.navy.mil/robots/pubs/spie5609-33.pdf.14. In trying to be cute, you have seriously misled your readers, and lost your technical credibility.THERE'S MORE: Ah, what are friends for? Over in the Defense Tech forum, the Arms Control Wonk gets my back. And gets nasty.