I recently came across an article on the Crusher, a 7-ton, QNX-based autonomous vehicle that can haul a payload of 8000 pounds. Developed by the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) at Carnegie Mellon University, the Crusher is part of the U.S. military's Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle Perceptor Integration (UPI) program. (Is it just me, or does that acronym have a few letters missing?)
The U.S. military has plans for the Crusher, such as performing reconnaissance in hostile areas and hauling supplies over rough terrain. They may also equip the Crusher with automatic weapons, which makes me wonder what Isacc Asimov would think of this beast.
I searched for the Crusher on YouTube and, sure enough, found a bunch of videos. I've included three: The first focuses on the sheer power and agility of the Crusher. The second shows how the Crusher will stop and "think" to determine the best way to cross a ditch, climb a hill, or negotiate an obstacle. And the third shows, among other things, how to control the Crusher with an XBox controller.
Here's the first video:
Here's the second; I recommend fast forwarding to the 1:00 mark:
[POSTSCRIPT: This video was removed from YouTube after this blog was posted.]
And here's the third:
To read more about the Crusher, click here.