The US Navy has developed a robot very similar to the popular robotic character from George Lucas’ Star Wars to work on their ships.
ASH or Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid will have the capacity to operate in smoke-filled areas, climb ladders and react to human gestures with the help of infrared cameras and sensors on its ‘face’.
ASH would also be able to throw PEAT (propelled extinguishing agent technology) grenades, and be able to use hoses and fire extinguishers.
The battery-powered robot is being developed by scientists at RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) at Virginia Tech University and is a follow on from a previous version called CHARLI or Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence.
The team is working with the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC on the robot-human interaction side of the project, taking inspiration from the much-loved robot, C-3PO, which starred in the Lucas’ cult films 35 years ago.
The Navy hopes the robot will also be able to put our lethal fires which put the lives of the crews onboard.
Professor Dennis Hong, from the university, told the Sunday Express: ‘‘It is walking now and will start testing on a Navy ship early next year but that does not mean that it is complete.
”It still needs a lot of things done, such as protection against heat and flames, sensors, navigation, fire-fighting behaviours.’’