The robotic delivery stork, revealed by DARPA

Written by By Winston Ulley, CNN When The Machine sets up at the annual AAI Tech Expo in Las Vegas this week, it will be armed with a gun. The robot, a modified version…

The robotic delivery stork, revealed by DARPA

Written by By Winston Ulley, CNN

When The Machine sets up at the annual AAI Tech Expo in Las Vegas this week, it will be armed with a gun.

The robot, a modified version of one developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), resembles a butler, but there’s no messing around with its physical features.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency may have worked with robots before, but on its own you’d need a passing acquaintance with Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics to take the bot seriously.

The laws, introduced in 1935, prescribe how to best ensure robot safety, and as you might expect, they restrict the true purpose of a robot:

No robot may injure a human being.

No robot may assist in murder.

No robot may assist in suicide.

Under first rule, bot does not kill — it simply keeps you warm in the winter and forgets about you entirely during the scorching summer months.

But on the second and third law, the robot gets very involved. It fires cannon shells and mid-air projectiles, protecting itself by using its own blood to decontaminate.

While those kinds of maneuvers would be nothing more than an exercise in heroic machismo if performed by a real, working drone, the robot isn’t actually a machine, it’s a stork. That is, it’s a baby bot.

The machine was developed to test the possibility of using robots to deliver packages for the military in the near future. A few years ago, it was an actual stork, its videos uploaded to YouTube, videos inspired by the Pixar “Toy Story” films.

But recent leaked documents shed some light on where this project is at, reveals CNN Technology. In an April memo, DARPA said the robot “can deploy its ‘bag’ when requested, and will travel onto a target and send back a location of interest.”

“Due to the distinctive shapes of both the stork’s ‘bag’ and its navigation devices, it is easy to identify the stork from a distance and follow its path,” it adds.

Though the project doesn’t necessarily predict a very exciting dog pack battle between bad guys, these pages also reveal that advances in technology have allowed robots to carry out routine tasks that might in the past be left to people, such as eliminating Christmas trees.

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