Archives for October 28, 2009

Robot Battalions Will Explore the Solar System

Up to this point in space exploration, robots have been solitary explorers commanded ultimately from Earth.  Sure, they may have used other spacecraft for communication relays as some Mars landers have done, but they have not been controlled by other machines.  Now, that may be changing.  As this story from the Telegraph states, “Robotic airships and satellites will fly above the surface of the distant world, commanding squadrons of wheeled rovers and floating robot boats, according to Wolfgang Fink of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).”  Robots will use networks to control other robots.  This will allow redundancy in the operations.  Cheap rovers and flyers can be deployed to explore the surface, while an orbiting spacecraft oversees the operations.  In order for this to work, the controlling robots must have the ability to make intelligent choices of where to send its minions or when to shut down a malfunctioning bot.  Prof Fink, director of Caltech's Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory, is leading his team in “developing software that would let a robotic explorer act independently and as part of a network. They would select priorities for exploration and anticipate and handle problems on their own.” 

Papers describing this new exploration are published in the journal Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine and in the Proceedings of the SPIE.  For more information on this work, visit .  You can find information on JPL missions is at .

Story is adapted from materials at, Science Daily and NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Alien worlds may be explored by armies of flying, driving and sailing robots, say scientists.

By Tom Chivers

Robotic airships and satellites will fly above
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Robot armies 'will explore alien worlds'
Wed, 28 Oct 2009 10:19:37 GMT

A Robot Elk is a Tempting Target

Poachers beware.  A robo-Elk is out there to tempt you into taking a shot.  This robotic elk joins robotic deer and a literal menagerie of robotic wildlife in the battle to stop illegal hunting of game.  There are robotic wolves and even robotic turkeys.  Operated by the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, the Robotic Decoy Program strives to stop poachers.  These robotic game animals are actually remote-controlled taxidermic specimens, so they are very realistic.  This story adds to the many robotic animal stories here on RobotNext, even though this may not be considered to be a true robot or even a very advanced robot.  It is performing a valuable role as a mechanical stand-in for the real thing.  After all, this elk or deer can take a bullet and remain standing.  It is definitely saving many wild animals from an illegal hunter’s weapon.  You can watch a video of the robotic deer taking fire from some road hunters in this clip from You Tube.

Robotic Elk 

Photo Credit:  Oregon State Police

The decoy donated by the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust will help fish and wildlife agents target nighttime or closed-season poachers.

Elk robot to help Ore. officials catch poachers
(author unknown)
Tue, 27 Oct 2009 14:52:15 GMT