Star Wars: Navy developing super hi-tech ‘science fiction weaponry to arm military robots’ | Science | News

Franchises such as Star Trek and Star Wars were thought of as fantastical when they were first released, but now things such as lasers and robots will be a staple of militaries.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) began sponsoring research in the 1950s that helped develop the first lasers.

“Lasers” are an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”.

The ONR is working on high-energy solid-state laser weapons and a prototype system was fitted on a Navy ship in 2014 which shot down unmanned aerial vehicles.

Also, the Mars rover Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument, which analyses the composition of rocks, is another form of laser.

The unmanned drones which were shot down by the navy were only achievable due to the advancement of autonomy.

Driverless cars and drones delivering packages will soon be an everyday reality.

These technologies are again due to ONR research, according to Navy officials.

The ONR recently put an autonomy package on unscrewed small bots.

Once equipped, the boats can communicate with each other, find enemy ships coming into their zone of responsibility and determine the threat and tell sailors safely outside the zone.

Other areas of autonomy being useful include mine clearing, supply drops and ship escorts.

When we think about robots we tend to think of pop culture icons like The Terminator or R2-D2, but robots are being used every day.

They are in factories, sweeping domestic floors and even defuse bombs.

The ONR has been researching robots since at least the 1960s when “Shakey the robot” became the first artificial being to think through what actions were needed to fulfil a command.

Now, the ONR is creating a firefighting robot called Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) equipped with augmented-reality systems and advanced wireless networks.

The Navy is even testing amphibious robot testing, such as the Ship-to-Shore Manoeuvre Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise last spring.

Virtual reality is also being developed for military purposes by the navy.

The Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR) Lab has virtual-reality intelligence for training and operations.

It is said to feel so real that you feel dizzy looking down from a virtual “crow’s nest” on top of a mast of a ship.

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