The military currently has thousands of robots operating overseas, including unmanned aerial scouts and small-payload bombers, bomb disposal 'bots, and even robots roaming around with machine guns. Now there's another robo-copter being tossed into the mix — the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System (ARSS), an unmanned helicopter armed with a .338-caliber rifle.
The fundamentals behind the ARSS were actually thought up five years ago, but a turret system that would be accurate enough to pick off targets from a distance was only recently possible thanks to a team at Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory. Now, hooked up to the underside of a Vigilante 502 UAV, the 'copter handles all the flying by itself while a remote operator lines up each shot using — of all things — an Xbox 360 controller.
Talk about real war-gaming. I suppose it's a testament to the Xbox 360's controller design that it could be used to adjust the precise aim of an aerial sniper. Now all the military needs to do is make a video game front-end, and we'll be living Ender's Game.