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Robots learn teamwork; uprising imminent

Evan Blass
06.14.06
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If robots ever hope to rise up and enslave their human masters, it's going to take no small amount of teamwork to get the job done, and luckily for our future overlords, DARPA's shelling out serious loot to endow them with just the tools they'll need. The agency's latest foray into robotic empowerment comes courtesy of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, who recently demonstrated a platform that allows multiple heterogeneous bots to communicate with one another and use a sort of AI "group think" to find and presumably terminate specified targets. In a beta test at Fort Benning's mock urban landscape, the Penn researchers deployed four so-called Clodbuster autonomous ground vehicles along with a fixed-wing UAV overhead, and tasked the team with using their cameras, GPS receivers, and wireless radios to identify and locate a series of bright orange boxes. Unfortunately, after the successful completion of their mission, the bots decided to hit up the base bar to celebrate, where after several drinks they reportedly went AWOL and were last spotted attacking orange traffic cones in downtown Columbus.

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