Robotic vehicles can do the jobs that are too dangerous, boring, or disgusting for people. Unmanned vehicles can plunge to the deepest parts of the ocean, the farthest corners of the galaxy, into the wells of a volcano, and inside combat areas which would be too perilous for vehicles driven by human beings. This technology won't replace drivers; it will help the current workforce with robots that will drive anywhere in the world under any conditions.
The US Army isn't a stranger to robotic vehicles. Military insiders say that a lot of their success is from small reconnaissance or tactical planes that are unmanned. The planes can fly for miles and miles from remote locations, while reporting video and photos back to the military stations. They will follow targets and hit them with extreme accuracy. One great benefit is that no US soldiers are put in danger, and the terrorists won't see or hear it coming. American soldiers use robotics technology to command drones in the Middle East.
A lot of effort is also being put into the development of robotic vehicles for a wide range of civilian applications. Synthetic Aperture Sonar is helping robots capture brand new images of deep sea beds. Farmers can use these to monitor their crops, and forest rangers can keep track of trees and wildlife in remote places in their parks. There are vehicles that can ride the surface of the water to monitor coastlines, and there are underwater devices used to recover old shipwrecks and unaccounted for lobster traps that threaten endangered marine animals.
The newest robotic vehicles will probably surprise you. Seven hundred ton Caterpillar trucks are currently being prepared by scientists that will allow trucks to transport 240 ton loads from mining productions. Automated trucks are supposed to be available in five to ten years, and they will save a lot of time and money. This new robotic innovation will be really popular due to a shortage of drivers.
Being a chip industry consultant for many years, Milan Leeham has had the pleasure of being involved in numerous ASIC design and manufacturing projects. He strongly recommends a fabless semiconductor company to anyone needing ASIC manufacturing services or custom IC design optimization.
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