The Deployment of exoskeletons in commercial sectors will probably remain quite limited for another decade or so, due to their high cost (more than $25,000 per suit). There should be about 11,000 exoskeletons by 2020.
The HULC can assist speed marching at up to 7 mph reduces this somewhat; a battery-draining “burst” at 10mph is the maximum speed
A soldier with a pack would normally go at 3 mph maximum and cover 10-12 miles in a day. Exoskeleton Soldiers could also carry lightweight foldable electric scooters on their exoskeleton that would enable 60-100 mph on roads. If the bike had motocross like capabilities it could still go about 30-60 mph on rougher terrain.
* Lockheed Martin’s (LM) Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) has passed a final round of tests at Fort Riley, Kansas, before scheduled deployment to Afghanistan in 2011. The system, which turns a six-wheeled amphibious ATV into a robotic packhorse and charging station, has been subjected to a variety of simulated warzone environments in both remote controlled and fully autonomous modes”
The SMSS can carry a squad’s food supplies, water, batteries, heavy weapons, ammunition, survival gear and can even accommodate casualties. Besides transporting up to 600lbs (272 kg) of gear, the SMSS also provides two to four kilowatts of power, and is capable of charging 146 batteries within ten hours.
The HULC exoskeletoned soldiers can carry foldable dirtbikes to enable speeds of 80mph. They would be better served with squad mission systems that could operate up to 80 mph and with several times the cargo capacity. The exoskeleton soldiers could swap out different mission modules for their 200 pound capacity from a faster and larger exo-squad SMSS.
Exoskeleton Rapid Deployment Forces
This would be enough for one or two tanks.
One transport plane could deliver 500 exoskeleton equipped soldiers with folded motocross bikes.
One transport plane could deliver 200 exoskeleton soldiers with 20 support vehicles.
The exoskeleton strike force should also be supplemented with UAVs armed with missiles.
Fast lightly armored and armed robotic vehicles would make for an interesting mix.
A mechanized rapid response force could more than match traditional tank forces and would over-match lighter infantry.
I think the tactical focus should be on a new level of light (compared to tanks) mechanized speed without sacrificing as much firepower especially when combined with UAVs and light missiles. UAVs will be able to provide constant close air support.
DARPA could begin fielding prototype flying hummers by 2015. DARPA aiming for around $1 million a copy for the flying Hummer compared with $400,000 for a Humvee and $4 million for light helicopter.
You would be able to fit more flying hummers into a C5B to deliver as part of a strike force instead of helicopters.
Transformer (flying hummer) is not simply a roadable aircraft – it is a four-seat vehicle that must be able to drive off-road, survive small-arms fire, and rapidly reconfigure into an aircraft that can take off and land vertically and be flown without pilot training.
Concept: Lockheed Martin and Piasecki Aircraft
Exoskeleton soldiers with Power Climbers
Atlas Devices has a new Powered Rope Ascender can climb can hold a target load capacity up to 600 pounds at a 6-feet per second rate of ascension. The lightweight ATLAS Ascender can pull a fully-loaded soldier or firefighter up a rappelling line at up to 10 ft/sec. The powerful rope not only lifts and lowers, but can tow vehicles and remotely move equipment and casualties as well, making it a valuable tool for VBSS teams. Its high-power, high-density lithium battery will allow a load to ascend 375 feet without recharging.
It is also able to recapture 10 to 15 percent of its potential energy as it descends, which can be used to recharge the battery
The ATLAS Ascender, originally designed for use in urban combat and cave exploration by the US Army, offers unparalleled benefits in many different scenarios. Its powerful lifting capacity can directly hoist fully-loaded soldiers or firefighters at unprecedented speeds. Utilizing the ATLAS with standard rescue equipment can magnify its capacity even more, enabling effective lifting and towing capacities in excess of 1,000 lbs.
* After years of development, the U.S. Army has unleashed a new weapon in Afghanistan — the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System, a high-tech rifle that can be programmed so that its 25-mm. ammunition detonates either in front of or behind a target, meaning it can be fired just above a wall before it explodes and kills the enemy. Deployment started in November of 2010 and there is now one XM25 per squad.
* In January 2011, US snipers were outfitted with the XM2010 rifle, capable of hitting a target from a 3,937-foot distance — about three quarters of a mile. The current sniper rifle, the M-24, has a range of 2,625 feet, by contrast.
* Darpa has rolled out rollout the project “One Shot” that aims to deliver sniper rifles whose accuracy won’t be thrown off by high-velocity winds.
* In 2012, Darpa contractor Teledyne is scheduled to deliver a prototype of a smart .50-caliber bullet that can adjust its trajectory for wind and humidity fluctuations.
Adding Riot Shields and robotic arms
Several near term real life technologies in exoskeletons, affordable and dextrous robotic arms and brain computer interfaces to prosthetics will have big real world impact. These technologies also would have the amusing side effect of enabling real world analogs of Doctor Octopus (comic book villain who fights Spiderman and has four brain controlled robotic arms) or General Grievous from Star Wars (a mostly robotic cyborg who has up to four brain controlled robotic arms. There has already been a person controlling a wheel chair mounted robotic arm and moving it with brain interface. The other work indicates that this will become available to thousands by 2020.
The Walk Again Project’s central goal is to develop and implement the first BMI (brain-machine interface) capable of restoring full mobility to patients suffering from a severe degree of paralysis. This lofty goal will be achieved by building a neuroprosthetic device that uses a BMI as its core, allowing the patients to capture and use their own voluntary brain activity to control the movements of a full-body prosthetic device. This “wearable robot,” also known as an “exoskeleton,” will be designed to sustain and carry the patient’s body according to his or her mental will. The specific Walk Again Project goal is that on the opening day of the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil, they hope to send a young quadriplegic striding out to midfield to open the games, suited up in the “prosthetic exoskeleton” they aim to build.
Heavy riot shields can be mounted on the HULC exoskeleton, so robotic arms could also be attached and they could have the brain computer interface.
Heartland Robotics’s goal is to introduce robots into places that have not been automated before, making manufacturers more efficient, their workers more productive and keeping jobs from migrating to low-cost regions. Heartland should be revealing its system in 2013.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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