Singapores Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) has offered a
prize of $652,000 for whoever can produce an autonomous combat robot capable of
fighting in urban areas. In other words, a street fighting droid.
will be a competition in May, 2008, to decide who, if anyone, gets the prize.
The test will consist of having the robots move around an urban area, both
indoors and outdoors, and accomplish a set of tasks within a specified time. It
is believed that live ammunition will not be used, but the robots may be
DSTA competition is pushing the state of the art in sensor, battery and AI
(Artificial Intelligence) technology. However, such autonomous droids are not
outside the bounds of possibility. The AI is already being demonstrated in
computer games, and the sensors are close, perhaps close enough, as well. We'll
have to wait for a year to see if there are any viable entrants, and until May
2008 to see how this robot battle plays out.
far, combat droids have been remote controlled vehicles, used for scouting or
destroying roadside bombs. Most of these robots have been American, and there
has been lots of reluctance in the Pentagon to giving the troops robots that
can act on their own.