Segway robots train snipers Down Under

The Australian Department of Defence enlisted the help of Marathon Robotics to set up a course populated by Segways with plastic, 3D, human-size dummies onboard.

Rover system
The human-size mannequinsare made from durable plastic that's supposed to withstand hundreds of shots. Marathon Robotics

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.

It's all pretty clever and awesome, really, and it makes me want to become a sniper just so I can do this, which feels like a real-life video game. But I won't, because they are practicing so they can get good at shooting real people in the head. I guess I'll just stick with the video games. See a video of the Rover system in action after the jump.

Rover system
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. Marathon Robotics

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo.

Featured Video
6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

The problem with Amazon Dash buttons

Limits on choice mean new shopping gadget won't click for everyone. Bridget Carey explains how the buttons work, and the rule changes for sharing your Prime perks with others.

by Bridget Carey