The folks over at Neural Robotics Inc. seemed to be making a fine little business for themselves, building autonomous mini-helicopters for surveillance, traffic monitoring, and movie shoots.But let's face it: there's only so long you can let your robots stand on the veritable sidelines. After a while, you want 'em to get in on the action. That's why, presumably, NRI has started to trick out its "AutoCopters" with 12-gauge, fully-automatic shotguns.The weapons work with anything from 18-Cal. BBs to armor-piercing, FRAG-12 rounds, according to Defense Review. Which turns the AutoCopter "into an incredibly lethal unmanned combat air vehicle."
Previously relegated to 'convoy escort,' the AutoCopter can now be tasked with convoy security/force protection. This constitutes a significant leap in mission capability, and it has the potential to be a significant force multiplier in multiple combat environments.And it sounds like a much more fun job, besides.Other robo-copter tinkerers are trying to give their machines some teeth. Boeing is working to fit Gatling guns and Hellfire missiles onto its "Unmanned Little Bird" chopper. The Army recently morphed a UH-1 Huey into a robotic, missile-firing model. Meanwhile, Japanese authorities are worried that Yamaha's pint-sized robo-copters might be making their way to China, where the drones could be equipped with chemical arms. Bummer.(Big ups: Scott @ Sploid)