back to article Qinetiq touts 'Transformer-like' mobility-scooter killbot

UK deathboffinry spinoff firm Qinetiq says it plans to deploy Transformers combatbots in the Wars On Stuff. In a release today, the company invites the world to admire MAARS™ (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System). MAARS is made by Qinetiq's recent American acquisition, Foster-Miller, who are perhaps most famous for their …


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  1. Jacob Reid

    'the MAARS is unable to fire directly at its own control console.'

    Hmm, fine when a human is controlling it, but when happens when the Rise Of The Machines finally starts, then it will be no longer human controlled, so presumably its 'controller' will be the first target.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    put it on robot wars tv...

    ...if it thinks its hard enough!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of The Jackal

    ... great film, but this really reminds me of the gun setup in The Jackal.

  4. Andrew
    Thumb Up

    I'm an anonymous coward...

    ...because they are all out to get me!

    -- Andrew

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    you gotta admit...

    That looks pretty damn menacing... I'd buy one! (actually, considering I'm an American taxpayer, I probably already have..)

    So I assume the thing knows the GPS coords of itself and the console, which would tell it the direction of the console from itself... I hope the compass for the turret doesn't get screwed up.

  6. Finn


    So, US Army is complaining that they are running out of troops (flesh and blood variety). Answer: Robots.

    Of course they will each need controller, maintenance chief, radioman etc. etc.

    So every robot on the front will reduce the number of troops and replace them with something that needs a wheelchair ramp for getting over a meter-high stone wall.

    However, my default mindset is cynicism, so there might be more than meets the eye in these things.

  7. Sierra

    MAARS: research fuelled by defense budgets

    There is no real innovation in Qinetiq's armed robot. Has anybody found the way to translate research budget from Defense into pacific projects?

  8. amanfromMars Silver badge

    @MAARS: research fuelled by defense budgets

    "Has anybody found the way to translate research budget from Defense into pacific projects?"

    Yes, Sierra. But Qinetiq, when asked, have said that they are not into AI and CyberSpace Controls, which is probably why they were hived off to Uncle Sam.

  9. Andrew Norton

    robot wars - you're kidding right?

    Anonymous Coward - you've got to be joking. It couldn't go on RW, not because it's not hard enough, but because the arenas weren't hard enough. The newer arena was only 10mm lexan, not enough enough to stop a 9mm pistol round. Thats why they always selected the entries that had low powered weapons.

    The other problem with putting it on Robot Wars would be that their safety guys are barely competant to cross the road unaided. They had a nasty accident in 99 with a bot they damaged when putting it in the arena. It went live, and went right through someones foot.

    Anyway, its not really any different from some of the stuff that was run at the US competition in the late 90s. At least one team used on-board video, fed to video goggles for weapon control. Most of them were a bit faster than 7mph too. My old middleweight could manage that for about 45 mins of a full charge, and we did think about mounting an airsoft gun, on a turret, for matches. Wasn't enough call for sentry-bots in futuristic airsoft scenarios though, to modify Hard Cheese that way.

    Andrew Norton, Team Liverdyne

    RobotWars UK Middleweight champs 98-2000

  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    "a variety of different field-handy deelies"

    Blow the robot technology: what the hell are 'deelies'? Is this a neovulturelogism?

  11. David S

    Was it only me

    ...who read that report with an earworm going "Pump up the volume..."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Robots instead of humans...

    "So every robot on the front will reduce the number of troops and replace them with something that needs a wheelchair ramp for getting over a meter-high stone wall."

    A human can control multiple robots. They could even use simple hunter/killer ai-s for fixed path base patrol duty. Most attacks where us soldiers die happen during road based patrols, where a hummer with 4 soldiers inside could be replaced by 4 tracked robots. Loosing a few of them due to roadside bombs doesn't really matter. Combine this with automated trucks and most supply lines could be automated. The downside of all this is that they can be hacked and turned against the us. For getting over a mether high wall, it's better to use a hoovering robot, like a mini helicopter based gun platform.

    ps: It's just me or these robots look and work like the heavy weapon platforms seen in the ufo series of games?

  13. Smallbrainfield
    Paris Hilton

    Does it play "Pump up the volume" as well?

    I think we should be told.

    Also, @ Andrew Norton, did you ever meet the legendary George Francis and was he as strangely manwomanlike as he appeared on TV or was that just the nerves?

  14. anthony bingham

    Robots don't talk back!

    So the US will rule the world with bits of "lethal loaded Lego" that needs no disability pension,ice cream in hot climates and best of all will not throw an emotional wobbly when told to "go to war" which of course is always possible if you join the Crazy Guys in the White House!

  15. JP
    Dead Vulture

    Was that a lucid comment...

    from amanfromMars??


  16. amanfromMars Silver badge
    IT Angle


    Yin to Yang in a Quantum Leap.


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  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's robot wars

    You say the chassis is similar to that of a mobility buggy. Think again, that thing is straight out of Robot Wars. The house Robot was called Sir Killalot, and used the same ~1m long two track system to mount the "jabbing spear of doom" and "cutting jaws of fear".

    In fact the same rubber tracked system had been around for a good 10 years. I first saw it on a building site as the drive mechanism for a very large wheelbarrow. Toot toot, strap a gun to that and your've completed 99% of an A-Team episode.

  18. Nick Reid
    Thumb Down

    Cost effectiveness?

    Just out of interest, how much do you reckon these things are going to cost the military each?

    Compared to the price of... ooh, lets say, the RPG that blows it to pieces.

  19. laird cummings

    '...unable to fire directly at its own control console.'

    That won't help even a little bit if it's armed with a grenade launcher. Near misses are all that's needed... Not even all that neer, really.

  20. Rick Brasche
    Thumb Down

    gah, the "safety plice" c*cked it up already

    it's fscking WAR fer chrissakes! people get hurt, sometimes badly-sometiems even the pretty boy star gets unlucky and buys the farm. Mechanical turret locks, so enemies who get the data from traitors posting on the net know where they are safer to attack from. Can't fire at it's own control console? All you gotta do is fox it so it thinks the enemy is the control console. Then since the thing is now useless, the enemy sympathizers and political drones can claim they "told us so" even they were the ones that castrated the thing in the first place.

    It's like going up to your favorite football center, taping blinders on his head, swinging an aluminum baseball bat to his unprotected groin, and then pointing and saying "See! I told you he wasn't worth hiring!" and getting your own ineffective second cousin hired to take his place.

  21. Anonymous Coward



    ... now that would be interesting

    I can find the door myself, thanks...

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