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美军大批机器人涌向战场

译自:美国信号杂志2008年3月刊
作者:亨利.K.肯扬
编译:全球防务(知远/若水)
无人化地面系统已经成为士兵在西南亚作战行动中的一个重要工具。最初只是部署少量的机械化装备,而现在,美国陆军和海军陆战队在战场部署了数以千计的机器人。从设计用来进入户内实施侦察的机器侦察兵到遥控地雷清除车。这些平台代替战士去从事一些危险的工作,包括军械处理及侦察活动,从而拯救了大批战士的生命。
保持和维护这些无人化平台的管理机构是位于阿拉巴马州红石兵工厂的机器人系统联合项目办公室(RSJPO)。机器人系统联合项目办公室建立于1989年,是应国会要求开展军用机器人研究而设立的。该办公室是在海军陆战队和陆军达成谅解备忘录的情况下形成的,丹尼.哥特伍德解释说,机器人系统联合项目办公室负责项目管理。他补充说,该文件概略地陈述了该办公室应向这两个军种提供的支持。
一旦新技术可为军队所用,机器人系统联合项目办公室的任务就是为士兵提供新的机器人系统。为伊拉克和阿富汗战争所实施的一个关键任务是对抗简易爆炸装置(IEDs )。“我们寻求机器人来探测和排除战区内的简易爆炸装置,”哥特伍德强调说。
作为为陆军和海军陆战队采购、派遣、训练和维护机器人系统的指定机构,机器人系统联合项目办公室与其它军种协调,并通过国防部长办公室参与联合机器人研制工作。哥特伍德说,该办公室每年与国防部长办公室召开两次会议,提出有关机器人协同测试和系统派遣等方面的工作。
陆军和海军陆战队研究实验室也与机器人系统联合项目办公室联系紧密,而且他们在申请研究经费之前,必须获得该办公室就个人研究与开发项目的有关认可才能获得批准。哥特伍德解释说,在新项目投资发布前,项目办公室必须遵守采购计划。“必须有一个计划来推动系统的生产、训练、派遣和维护。”他说。
    这种军种支持下的研究涉及开发一个完整的系统或诸如传感器之类特定载体。除了同美国其它防务机构共同工作外,机器人系统联合项目办公室也与其它大学、工业研究团体紧密协作。哥特伍德指出,该办公室人员积极参与由诸如无人驾驶系统协会举办的机器人工业活动。但是,办公室的核心任务是获取、管理和支持军种使用的无人化平台。

由机器人系统联合项目办公室负责管理的二十个平台之一,throwbot侦察机器人重量不到一磅,而且它的大小只有一个苏打水瓶那么大。它被设计成能从窗户投入,并在室内行走,装备有一台视频相机,该系统由一个手持单元控制,在城市作战中用于侦察部队前进方向上的陷阱和埋伏。
    现在,大约有二十余种机器人系统在阿富汗及伊拉克战场上使用。这些系统包括了从便携式战术机器人--如I-Robot公司的Packbot,爪形爆炸军械系统和海军陆战队的“龙信使“--到六吨重的地雷清除系统。然而,哥特伍德指出,所有的这些系统对士兵而言都具有同等重要的作用。他把机器人比喻为家用工具。而士兵将机器人系统用于处理特殊任务。部队可能只需要一个小型平台来处理简易爆炸装置,或他们需要一个大型、重型机器人来清除雷区。
    现在正在部署一个名为Throwbot机器人系统,这是一个可以从门或窗户扔进去执行侦察任务的战术机器人。这个小型、圆筒形机器人只有一个苏打水瓶子大小,带有两个轮子和一台摄像机,而且它的重量不到半磅。这个机器人由明尼苏达州侦察机器人公司开发研制的。Throwbot由手持商用无线装置和操纵杆控制。它的任务是为士兵们进入建筑物前提供快速的监视信息。
    另一个投入使用的机器人系统名为“角斗士”。它是由匹兹堡卡内基梅隆大学开发研制的。这个六轮、高尔球车大小的机器人将被海军陆战队用来执行各种侦察和支援任务。“角斗士”还可执行作战任务,并能配备机枪和榴弹发射器。据哥特伍德透露,这是第一个派到战场上的武装机器人。机器人系统联合项目办公室计划在今年对几个机器人系统原型进行评估。

机器人系统联合项目办公室现在正在对“角斗士”无人地面系统进行评估。该系统是卡内基梅隆大学为海军陆战开发研制的。“角斗士”是一个用于支援战斗行动的多功能机器人。它还具备装备机枪或榴弹发射器的能力。
机器人系统联合项目办公室还负责维持和支持在阿富汗和伊拉克部署无人地面系统。在2004年之前,办公室负责数量相当较少的机器人。这些机器被用来处理波斯尼亚和科索沃的炸弹和地雷,在那儿,机器人给士兵提供很多有价值的信息和行动经验。
2004年,国防部从机器人系统联合项目办公室订购了162部机器人系统。最初的计划是将这些机器人派往伊拉克和阿富汗用以支援作战。到2005年,当机器人的任务从排爆扩大到侦察任务时,办公室已经派出1800部机器人系统。在战区内机器人的数量已经达到5000部以上。美军现在操纵的机器人比他们操纵的装甲战车还多。
机器人系统联合项目办公室近来还研制出了一种新的机器人系统,名为X-bot。它是由马萨诸塞州伯灵顿iRobot公司生产。X-bot是从该公司研制的PackBot机器人家族经改良而来的。根据2.86亿美元的无定期交付/不定数量合约,陆军将定购多达3000部以上的机器人提供给部队,用以执行侦察和排爆任务。首批101部已经交付给迫切需求的部队。
X-bot是“机器人潮流”中的一部分,被设计用来支援在伊拉克的作战行动。机器人系统联合项目办公室正在增强机器人的能力来支持它的功能和未来作战系统。办公室有专人和设施来负责处理任何对机器人系统的急切需求。
同时起步的其它机器人系统还有陆军未来战斗系统(FCS)计划中的无人地面部分。当未来战斗系统计划的最初阶段还很艰难地进入军队时,小型无人地面车(SUGV)Block1平台将被部署在陆军部队。办公室目前正在评估是否要部署更多这样的特别的小型无人地面车平台。在机器人系统联合项目办公室的管理下,战区内机器人和评估系统的结合扩大了机器人的数量。到今年年底,战场上的机器人数量就将超过6000部。
战场上的机器人受联合机器人修理工厂人员的管理和维护。工厂拥有一个占地3000平方英尺的仓库、办公室和技术车间。这儿有超过100名以上的陆军和海军陆战队预备人员在此工作。机器人系统联合项目办公室在西南亚建设了一个维修中心,包括在伊拉克的一个15000平方英尺的修理设施,以及今年春天它还将在阿富汗新增一个维修点。
当部署的机器人损坏或需要维修时,陆军和海军陆战队部队将机器带到机器人系统联合项目办公室,在这儿,机器在四个小时内要么被维修,要么被更换。办公室通过一个计算机数据库和配件跟踪系统建立有一个详细的合约框架,来保证快速修理和服务。
除了排爆和战斗损坏外,对机器人行动另一个主要的挑战就是行进在电磁环境中。因为绝大部分机器人必须通过无线链接实施遥控操纵,他们的控制系统很容易受到来自其它通信或干扰系统的干扰。另一个技术挑战是在不破坏指挥与控制链路的情况下维护非瞄准线通信。
    因为新技术能提供战场机器人所面对的操纵难题的解决方案,机器人系统联合项目办公室同其它美国政府研究机构保持着紧密的关系。例如,它与美国国防高级研究计划局(DARPA)达成一了项谅解备忘录。这项备忘录允许办公室将美国国防高级研究计划局任何新技术直接转化为采购、训练和维护计划中。然而,所有与机器人系统联合项目办公室合作的海军陆战队和陆军研究实验室必须遵循地面机器人总体规划。总体规划是一系列经核准后的项目列表,但美国海洋科学部(OSD)管理着它自己详细的机器人路线图。
机器人系统联合项目办公室另一个责任就是协助训练和条令司令部(TRADOC)为机器人平台发展新的条令。办公室在训练方面的努力主要集中在系统功能而不是任务理论。机器人系统联合项目办公室专业人员被送到训练和条令司令部学院帮助修改条令,但是办公室并没有建立自己的条令。
除了为海军陆战队和陆军维护机器人系统,机器人系统联合项目办公室也为其它军种的机器人提供修理和维护支持,特别是那些用来排爆的机器人。美国海军和空军在伊拉克和阿富汗操纵他们自己的反简易爆炸装置机器人。机器人系统联合项目办公室能在任何时间为机器人提供服务。
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U.S. Robots Surge Onto the Battlefield

美军机器人涌向战场
译自美国信号杂志3月期刊
By Henry S. Kenyon
Government office manages, maintains growing inventory of military machines.
Unmanned ground systems have become a vital tool for warfighters operating in Southwest Asia. Initially deploying a handful of machines, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps now deploy thousands of robots into the theater. Ranging from tiny scouts designed to be thrown into windows to remote control mine clearance vehicles, these platforms have saved many lives by replacing soldiers in dangerous jobs, including ordnance disposal and reconnaissance.
The organization responsible for managing, sustaining and maintaining these unmanned platforms is the Robotic Systems Joint Project Office (RSJPO), Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. The RSJPO originated in 1989 as a response to congressional requests for military robotics research. The office was formed under a memorandum of understanding between the Marine Corps and the Army, explains Duane Gotvald, RSJPO deputy project manager. He adds that the document outlines the support that the office provides the two services.
The RSJPO’s mission is to provide warfighters with robot systems by pushing new technologies out to troops as soon as the technologies are available. A key mission for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq is countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs). “We look for robotics to detect and defeat IEDs in theater,” Gotvald emphasizes.
As the designated agency for acquiring, fielding, training and sustaining robotic systems for the Army and the Marine Corps, the RSJPO coordinates with the other services and participates in joint robotics efforts through the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Gotvald notes that the office meets with the OSD twice a year to propose robotics efforts including collaboration tests and systems fielding.
Army and Marine Corps research laboratories also are tied to the RSJPO and must obtain the office’s endorsement for individual research and development programs before they can request funding. Gotvald explains that the program office must agree to an acquisition plan before funding for new research is released. “There must be a plan in place to put it [the system] in the field and to produce, train, field and sustain it,” he says.
This service-supported research can involve developing an entire system or specific payloads such as a sensor. Besides working with other U.S. Defense Department agencies, the RSJPO also works closely with university and industry research teams. Gotvald shares that office personnel attend robotics industry events sponsored by organizations such as the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International to stay abreast of new technology developments. But the office’s core mission is acquiring, managing and supporting the unmanned platforms used by the services.
  

One of the 20 platforms managed by the Robotic Systems Joint Project Office (RSJPO), the Throwbot reconnaissance robot weighs less than a pound and is the size of a soda can. Designed to be tossed into windows and through doorways, and equipped with a video camera, the system is controlled by a handheld unit to scout ahead for booby traps and ambushes in urban operations.

Approximately 20 types of robotic systems are now in use in Afghanistan and Iraq. These systems range from manportable tactical robots—such as I-Robot’s Packbot, the Talon explosive ordnance system and the Marine Corps’ Dragon Runner—to six-ton mine clearance systems. However, Gotvald observes that all of these systems are equally important to warfighters. He describes robots as a family of tools, noting that soldiers are issued robotic systems as solutions for specific missions. Troops may need only a small platform to manipulate an IED, or they may need a large, heavy-duty robot to clear a minefield.
One robotic system now being readied for deployment is the Throwbot, a tactical robot that can be tossed into doorways and windows. The small, cylindrical robot is about the size of a soda can, has two wheels and a video camera, and weighs less than half a pound. Developed by ReconRobotics Inc., Minnetonka, Minnesota, the Throwbot is controlled by a commercially available handheld wireless device with a joystick and monitor. It is designed to provide rapid surveillance for soldiers before they enter a building.
Another platform entering service is the Gladiator. Developed by Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, this six-wheeled, golf-cart-size robot will be used by the Marine Corps in a variety of scout and support roles. Gladiator is intended for combat missions and can be outfitted with machine guns and grenade launchers. This is the first armed robot to be fielded to soldiers, according to Gotvald. The RSJPO plans to evaluate several prototypes of the system this year.
  

The RSJPO is currently evaluating the Gladiator unmanned ground system. Developed for the Marine Corps by Carnegie Mellon University, Gladiator is a multipurpose robot intended to support combat operations. The capability also can be equipped with machine guns or grenade launchers.
The RSJPO also is responsible for maintaining and supporting the unmanned ground systems deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Prior to 2004, the office was responsible for a relatively small number of robots, Gotvald shares. These machines were used for bomb and land mine disposal in Bosnia and Kosovo, where they provided warfighters with valuable information and operational experience, he says.
In 2004 the Defense Department requested 162 robotic systems from the RSJPO. Initially classified, this request was to provide robots to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. By 2005, as the machines’ mission had expanded from explosive disposal to reconnaissance, the office had fielded 1,800 robotic systems. Gotvald notes that the number of robots in theater has grown to more than 5,000 machines. U.S. forces now operate more robots than they have armored fighting vehicles in the region, he says.
The RSJPO also recently acquired a new robotic system, the xBot. Manufactured by iRobot Corporation, Burlington, Massachusetts, the xBot is an improved variant of the firm’s PackBot family of machines. Under the terms of the $286 million indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract, the Army could order up to 3,000 of the robots to provide troops with a reconnaissance and explosive ordnance removal capability. The first 101 units already have been delivered to meet an urgent operational requirement.
The xBots are part of a “robotic surge” designed to support stepped-up operations in Iraq. Gotvald says that the RSJPO has increased its capabilities to support this effort and future FCS systems as they roll out. He maintains that the office has the personnel and facilities in place to manage any surge requirements for robotic systems.
Other robotic systems on the horizon are the unmanned ground components of the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. As the initial phases of the FCS program are spiraled into the current force (SIGNAL Magazine, November 2007), the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) Block 1 platform will be deployed to Army units. Gotvald says that the office is currently evaluating the SUGV with the goal of deploying more of this particular platform. This combination of in-theater robots and evaluation systems is greatly expanding the number of robots under RSJPO management. “By the end of the year, we could easily have over 6,000 systems,” he says.
Robots in the field are managed and maintained by the office’s Joint Robotics Repair Facility, a 30,000-square-foot center consisting of warehouses, offices and technical workshops. More than 100 Army and Marine Corps Reserve personnel staff the facility. The RSJPO also maintains repair centers in Southwest Asia, including a 15,000-square-foot repair facility in Iraq, and this spring it will open a new site in Afghanistan.
When a deployed robot is damaged or requires maintenance, Army and Marine Corps units can take the machine to an RSJPO facility, where it is either repaired or replaced within four hours. To manage and track rapid repair and servicing, the office has an elaborate contracting framework in place backed by a computerized database and parts tracking system.
Besides explosives and combat damage, another major challenge to robot operations in the region is the crowded electromagnetic environment. Because most robotic systems must be operated remotely via wireless links, their control systems are susceptible to interference from other communications or jamming systems designed to jam IEDs. Gotvald adds that another technical challenge is maintaining non-line-of-sight communications without disrupting command and control links.
Because new technologies can offer solutions to the operational challenges faced by battlefield robots, the RSJPO maintains close relationships with other U.S. government research agencies. For example, it has a memorandum of understanding with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This arrangement allows the office to transition any new DARPA-developed technologies directly to an acquisition, training and sustaining program. However, Gotvald maintains that all Marine Corps and Army research laboratories working with the RSJPO must adhere to the ground robotics master plan. He explains that the master plan is a list of ongoing approved robotics projects and adds that the OSD manages its own detailed robotics road map.
Another responsibility of the RSJPO is assisting the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) in developing new doctrines for robotic platforms. Gotvald says that the office’s training efforts focus on system capabilities primarily rather than mission doctrine. RSJPO personnel are posted at TRADOC’s schools to help develop the doctrine, but he says that the office does not create its own doctrine.
Besides maintaining robotic systems for the Army and Marine Corps, the RSJPO also provides repair and maintenance support for the other services’ robots, especially those used for explosive ordnance disposal. Gotvald adds that the U.S. Navy and Air Force operate their own counter IED robots in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Any time a service has a robot that it wants to put in the field, we’re the point of contact to train, field and sustain in theater,” he says.
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怎么感觉美军的机器人像是国内地下加工厂出品的冒牌摄像头呢,
美军生成他在城市作战中用于侦察部队前进方向上的陷阱和埋伏
在战场能起到什么作用呢,块头还是太大,美军的技术应该做成苍蝇大小的才有真正的用武之地。
绝对能被对手的AK47察觉。
这两小马车上捆了几个摄像头。
“角斗士机器人,这么彪悍的造型,作战时用布块蒙着它不就瞎眼了。根本构成不了威胁

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