How does a sailor give orders to tomorrow’s robot firefighter? You do so verbally, just as you would order a regular person.
That’s what we learned on Monday when we visited the Navy’s Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research. The lab, known by its cheeky acronym LASR, puts the U.S. military’s next-gen robots through the stresses of real-world conditions, thanks to simulations of shallow littoral waters, Mideastern deserts and Southeast Asian jungles. But it provides more than that. Its facilities allow both scientists and actual troops to interact with those robots, so flesh-and-blood sailors and their Cylon counterparts can each “learn” how to be better teammates once the military sends the robots into the field.