Feeds

Qinetiq rolls out 'third party' SDK for killer robot lines

Droid-legion hax0r warlords should get in on the beta

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Killer robots are a bit like iPhones - tons of hype, but not that many units actually sold. Many people reckon that this is because these amazing, potentially multifunction devices' potential is not fully exploited. And that, of course, is because of the lack of a robust developer community.

Armed, yet human-controlled

At last, hardware that could run a real killer app.

Lord knows whether or not that's true for smartphones, but there are definitely some people who believe it is for war robots. For instance Qinetiq, everyone's favourite privatised-in-a-shower-of-gravy former UK gov tech bureau. As part of their transition into the private sector, Qinetiq found it necessary to buy up some profitable companies with US defence contracts, and one of these was Foster-Miller - maker of various well known combat droids.

Thus it is that yesterday saw Foster-Miller Qinetiq North America rolling out a third-party software development kit for the company's war-bots. The SDK is called "Symphony".

"There is no shortage of qualified companies and experts working on new robotics technologies that will change combat forever; the trick is getting those new solutions to the warfighter," said Qinetiq droid army supremo Dr Bill Ribich.

"Symphony is that last, critical piece of the open robotics puzzle that allows industry to develop what the customer needs and get it into the field faster than ever."

Apparently, Symphony is in beta test with "leading providers" both commercial and public-sector, and Symphony 1.0 is expected to go on general release to developers "later this year".

The SDK will allow third-party programmers to apply their skillz to the full panoply of Qinetiq battle machines. These include the fearsome MAARS, which packs a 7.62mm medium machine gun and quad-barrel grenade launcher; also the SWORDS, which has been trialled with even heavier ordnance including a tank-busting rocket launcher. That said, the majority of Qinetiq droids actually seeing field service have been relatively mundane bomb-disposal TALONs, typically packing nothing worse than a water disruptor*.

Recent claims by jihadi bullshitters that they had hacked SWORDS robots in Iraq to turn on their American overseers in a frenzied mechanical bloodbath were discounted. However, should Symphony perhaps turn up on the torrents, such stories will move from the obviously-untrue to the just-barely-possible sector.

You want IT angle? You came to the right shop today. ®

*Although a disruptor is potentially deadly against humans close up, it is single shot and short range.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.