Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
The Military United States Networking

The US Army Wants Distributed Bot Swarms And An 'Internet of Battlefield Things' (defenseone.com) 90

turkeydance shares a new report about the U.S. Army Research Lab: In the coming months, the Lab will fund new programs related to highly (but not fully) autonomous drones and robots that can withstand adversary electronic warfare operations... A second program called the Internet of Battlefield Things seeks to put to military use "the research that's going on in the commercial space" on distributed sensors and Internet-connected devices... One thrust will be equipping drones and other autonomous systems with bigger brains and better networking so that they can function even when an enemy jams their ability to radio back to a human controller for direction... "When you don't have bandwidth, when you're under cyber attack, when you're being jammed. That's the problem we're trying to address."
The lab's director also says they want "as much processing as possible on the node" so it can continue functioning in "contested environments."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The US Army Wants Distributed Bot Swarms And An 'Internet of Battlefield Things'

Comments Filter:
  • ...preferably not from the pony.

    The only kind of distributed system we can currently deploy and be relatively certain that it won't be taken over en masse and used against us is humans. And even then, there's no guarantees.

    • So which is worse: a plucky little startup called Cyberdyne Systems delivers what they are asking for, or we get the battlefield equivalent of @internetofshit ?

    • ...preferably not from the pony.

      Is that because it might bite off your weiner, or because some paranoid bozo will shoot you and then a fat kid will turn your body into chili? :D

    • Owh, i can FEEL the love again, zee russians and chinese ? did the army take over slashdot since Trump got the drones now ? i kinda feel a shift ... zee russians did not create al qaeda and zee chinese (as far as i know arent actually invading or bombing anywhere or anyone outside their borders so one could say mind your own business there ? unless you're edisonian mindset) but im too tired to be accused of anti american(-ism) i gte nauseous at the sound of -isms but face it guys .. your united loobies of t
  • Let's hope they read 'Second Variety' by Philippe K. Dick.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • This will bring a whole new meaning to the "Bluescreen of Death".

  • This seems like a good time to check your tab and light up a red cigarette. You might want to check which type of blade that malfunctioning one was too.
  • by SCVonSteroids ( 2816091 ) on Sunday July 23, 2017 @10:26AM (#54861973)

    and someone (a body of people, an organization, what have you) figures out how to seize complete control of them is when the world takes a sharp turn into something nobody really wants. I don't even think this is doomsday-talk either, we're naturally progressing in this direction, have been for some time now. Our paranoia is going to drive us into oblivion if we don't shift our collective mentality soon... ...as if THAT'S going to happen! :)

    • you could say the same about the ICBM we've had for decades

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The Drone swarm (thousands of drones) is best at clearing out dug in defences, think terrorists in cities. Fly in thousands of drones and they seek out targets, approach and if destroyed, that loss of signal sends two to the lost location and if the two go down four go in. The drone wants nothing more than to embrace you with it's golden light, which it will do unless you follow it, to a surrender point. They need a reliable distributed network to get video information back from the drones to approving offi

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      When there's enough of them and someone (a body of people, an organization, what have you) figures out how to seize complete control of them is when the world takes a sharp turn into something nobody really wants.

      You seem to be assuming that we shouldn't be worried about the people who built them in the first place. Unless autonomous weapon systems will be built with strong AI and a concept of "war crimes" which we know they will not, they can be ordered to do anything. Humanity has done some pretty terrible things with human soldiers to carry out their atrocities, don't assume there'll be less with fewer humans in the loop. And with fewer friendly casualties the threshold for resorting to the use of violence is als

  • yes and lets give them the ability to self-replicate, and use biomass to do so!
  • Is just plain DUMB. Remember the phrase "There is ALWAYS Somebody Better"? No matter who is coding your security protocols, someone better WILL come along and hack that shit! Automated weapons and the interwebs, in ANY form such as secure/private webs and otherwise, should be a strict NO NO! Un-jammable, unstoppable, wireless killing machines... Yeah that sounds like NOTHING could possibly go wrong. LOL!
    • wars have always been fought to take land from other civilizations because food was scarce. Food isn't really scarce anymore. Our food problems are now just distribution problems. We could end the need for arms greater than a few pistols for the occasional nut job tomorrow if we cared to. Of course, that would require us to give food/shelter to just about everybody without preconditions, and good luck with that.
      • Given the average obesity level in the US: Why again are they the nation that waged the most wars in the past half century?

  • and the robot/drones become (practically) useless or they have enough autonomy to kill on their own? (Which may be violation of some new UN rules on autonomous robots used in war).

    Either way, it's not good. Is it likely that an adversary would be able to cut off communications? I'm wondering if there is a failsafe method of communicating with autonomous drones and robots outdoors with a clear line of sight to the sky directly above them. What you need is a satellite with a high powered maser (microwave

  • As a side project, we'll also need some non-nuclear, small scale EMP weapons.

    Everybody will have distributed Bot Swarms.

    Think of a Citronella Candle or Bug Zapper, you don't
    want other people's Bot Swarms around you in a battle zone, or Urban neighborhood, when law enforcement starts using them.

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Sunday July 23, 2017 @01:47PM (#54862669)
    The number of things that could go wrong with this enterprise are huge. If this starts a military escalation in robotics world wide we could all be in trouble. We already have drones doing all sorts of things like assassinations, especially in Pakistan (surprised they haven't yelled about acts of war given the casualties), or the potential to hack the systems coordinating these proposed drone swarms and turn them against us. I doubt this would be directly connected to the Internet (Internet Of Things (Iot) Is already a joke in IT security these days), but would probably be controlled via satellites, and that could be intercepted or jammed. All someone has to do is capture a few, reverse engineer them, and viola, you make some of your own. This is one of those things where, it looks cool, but just because you can do a thing doesn't mean you should. You could argue benefits in say ,construction (lots of researching/testing going on to make use of mini drones to do work in that area because many smaller robots potentially could have more power than one large one, like the insect strength-mass ratio), but as weapons, that could be terrifying. I wonder how long it will be before we start hearing about drone strikes in our own back yard. (See the Val Kilmer film "Real Genius", they just about got it right).
  • by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Sunday July 23, 2017 @02:41PM (#54862917) Journal

    The most valuable weapon will be the soldiers that still know how to fight without all of their gadgets.

    The question is whose soldiers will that be?

  • ... for this project will be Cyberdyne Systems.

  • Hopefully they will do better than commercial devices: The 'S in IoT stands for 'security.'

  • the Ruskies could help us with it! I'll send an email to Trump about it.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser