How do you make sniper target practice more helpful and more fun? By shooting at Segway robots, of course.
To train its snipers in realistic conditions, the Australian Department of Defence enlisted the help of Marathon Robotics of Sydney, Australia, to set up a course populated by Segways with plastic, 3D, human-size dummies onboard.
The Segways are programmed to wander around a small village aimlessly, with the robots leaning forward to accelerate and backward to stop, making them harder to hit. When a sniper does pick one of them off, the system provides instant visual feedback by stopping and dropping the mannequin. The robots then all scatter automatically.
The Rover system (PDF) uses GPS and a scanning laser rangefinder for navigation, positioning, and obstacle detection and avoidance.
The human-size mannequins are made from durable plastic that’s supposed to withstand hundreds of shots.
(Credit: Marathon Robotics)
When a robot is shot, the rest of the robots respond by scattering and running for cover. The Rover system can run by day and night, in all weather, for hours at a time.