back to article Speeding, driverless Nissan finally stopped by US bombers

Conversion kits have been developed which can upgrade any normal car for autonomous driverless operation. Video is now available from such a car, driving without human input in the Nevada desert, showing fruitless attempts by US navy bombers to destroy the self-directed machine. The vid comes courtesy of Kairos Autonomi, …

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  1. Duncan Hothersall

    Front-on view please

    I want to see if it has red pulsing lights in a row across the front.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pronto4 Strap-on

    Strap-on? ROFLMAO! Anyone else noticed it looks like a c**k ring hooked up to a large battery pack?!

  3. Tom
    Flame

    a miss, but...

    A 500 pound bomb at that kind of range would blow the car to bits!

  4. Elmer Phud

    O.K. ,I'll go for it

    As it's been mentioned so many times in the article -- US Pilots get down and dirty with a strap-on.

    Not only couldn't they hit it, they only managed to stall the thing.

    (Absolutlely no Paris icon, despite the numerous uses of 'strap-on'. )

  5. Hans
    Coat

    Navy High and Dry?

    WTF in their right mind decided to build a naval base in Nevada, a landlocked desert state a long way from the nearest stretch of sea?

    Must be hell getting their ships in there, huh?

    Still, we Brits aren't so smart anyway. Don't we have a naval base at Yeovilton? Hmmmm . . .

  6. John Bayly
    Coat

    Reminds me of a Simpsons episode

    Lenny says: "Hey look, Homer's got one of those robot cars."

    [car crashes]

    Carl: "Yeah, one of those American robot cars."

    If an inert bomb landing close is enough to stall the engine, how far away will a 500lb bomb need to be to have to same effect?

    Mine's the one with the Radioactive Man comic in the pocket.

  7. Martin Silver badge

    iPhone version?

    That might explain driving here - the mobile phone clamped to their heads is actually being used to remote control the car!

  8. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Perfect gift!

    Just the thing for the terrorist suicide bomber in your life. Did your last human car bomber get cold feet at the last moment or realize that life really is worth living? Well worry no more, with this new handy dandy auto autopilot will ensure your slacker sacrifice gets the job done. But wait, there's more, you won't even have to worry about premature explosion ever again. Now how much would you pay?

  9. David Haworth
    Coat

    Let me be the first ...

    Windows eh? No wonder it can't cope with traffic,

  10. Joe Futrelle
    Black Helicopters

    File under ROTM.

    I for one welcome our new leadfooted robotic overlords.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    No more drink driving

    ..... Could this be the answer to driving home after a few scoops at the local on't way way home from work

  12. Christoph Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Have they thought this thing through?

    If this becomes capable of driving in traffic, just how will they stop someone from driving a container full of explosives into a city centre? The IRA would have loved that one.

  13. Shades

    Nissan?

    If ithe vehicle in question is a Nissan then why does it have a stonking great BMW badge on the bonnet (or "hood" for our Merkin chums)?

  14. Aaron Harris
    Thumb Down

    How

    How can a video of such a fun thing be so dulllllll.

    Mixing self driving cars with laser guided bombs where is the rock music, the flashy voice over by a gravel eating jar head, where are the scantily clad beach babes on the side of the road.

    I must be on the wrong site.

  15. jake Silver badge

    beer & TV

    "The only thing the Pronto4 doesn't seem able to do is cope with traffic. Once it can do that, it would seem that the long-anticipated day when we can simply set our cars to take us wherever we want and then sit back for a snooze, a beer or a bit of TV is finally at hand."

    Unfortunately, from my perspective, many of the drivers around here do at least two of the above at the same time ... I mean, seriously, a TV on the dash & a cooler built into the console? WTF are the manufacturers thinking?

  16. Slappy Frogg

    Cool tech...but isn't this what missiles are for?

    Maybe I'm missing something, but, I don't see why one would try to bomb a small, fast, mobile target? Isn't that what missiles are for?

  17. Jeff
    Dead Vulture

    I sure hope...

    ...they've thought up some contingency plan for when one of these autonomous vehicles gets captured by the 'enemy.' Lest it be reprogrammed, loaded with explosives and returned to it's former masters.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    From the picture...

    ...it appears that Nissan have some work to do on the altima's interior design. Wake up, people - you can't get away with lousy fit and finish just because you have some fancy nav system!

  19. Jerry Masterson

    autodrive

    We already have the capability to sit back and snooze while still getting to where we want to go. It's called a bus.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Not so hot...

    With a real 500lb-er, that second strike would have been fatal. I also think with a software upgrade to the bombs so that they know how to lead a moving target, it'll be a different game. Right now, they don't care, because the usual targets (bridges, buildings, runways, etc) don't move. However I do think this is a useful upgrade. Being able put the smack on "technical vehicles" with an F-18 and relatively cheap smart bombs from umpteen thousand feet would be nice.

    This thing looks like it just follows whatever path you draw on a map and doesn't do any real-time obstacle avoidance or anything else. It doesn't appear to have the tons of sensors you need for that. I guess it would be useful for looking at IEDs, but don't we already have more useful robots for that?

    Plus one of the main purposes of the DARPA robocar event is to have the cars deal with traffic. No wonder I don't remember them from the event. This kit must have lasted all of 5 minutes.

  21. Magani
    Coat

    Pathed?

    PATHED?? What ever happened to understandable English usage? What's wrong with 'drove'?

    Give that man 100 lashes for his uncromulent verbification of a perfectly innocent English noun.

    Personally, I'd strap the author to the roof of the Nissan (or Moving Land Target as it now seems to be) and send it out on the course, but the Navy seems incapable of scoring a direct hit on something doing 35mph with its Enhance (sic) Laser Guided Training Rounds.

    Fail from 2 points of view.

    Mine's the one with the Professional Obfuscator's Guide to Writing Defence Quotes in the pocket.

  22. Aldous

    @hans

    WTF in their right mind decided to build a naval base in Nevada, a landlocked desert state a long way from the nearest stretch of sea?

    Must be hell getting their ships in there, huh?

    keyword naval AIR base . it makes perfect sense, naval aircraft can land on normal runways so why train them over water which is more expensive and dangerous then over nevada wasteland, which is also probably close to nellis AFB so the airforce can come play as the red team

  23. Dave

    That Winnebago Cruise Control Myth

    Looks like it could become a reality soon - get one of these and you really can nip in the back to make a cup of tea or have a nap.

  24. Allan Dyer Silver badge
    Coat

    new patent...

    I'm writing a patent on a "device capable of restarting a autonomous driverless vehicle by means of rotating the ignition key". Actually, how do you normally start this thing, turn the key and jump out quick?

    @Aldous "water which is more expensive" - with 2/3rds of the earth's surface water, and the law of supply and demand, I'd have thought land was more expensive.

    Mine's the one with the really damp property brochures in the pocket.

  25. Herby

    Navy in Nevada?

    Well, we always called those underground projects "Swiss Navy Projects". I always wondered if the Swiss actually HAD a navy hidden out somewhere, ready to launch something from their submarine or some such.

    The Navy here does lots of things inland. Then again, the US Coast guard patrols Lake Tahoe since it is in two states (California and Nevada for the map challenged).

  26. Trevor Watt

    Hellfire.

    OK, now the Navy has had a go, how about letting the 101st Aviation Regiment have a go at the car with their Apaches and hellfires. Oh dear, target destroyed from 8KM away, with a first round kill from a helicopter hiding behind a hill.

    The robot demo would not be so impressive then.

  27. P. Lee
    Alert

    re: Naval base in Nevada

    That's nothing, The little town of Holbrook in Australia has its own submarine, HMAS Otway. You can see it from the road as you drive from Sydney to Melbourne.

    Its also hundreds of kilometres from the sea.

    Icon: battening down hatches etc.

  28. Mark York
    Black Helicopters

    @hans II

    "Still, we Brits aren't so smart anyway. Don't we have a naval base at Yeovilton? Hmmmm . . ."

    The RN have a fleet air arm section based at Yeovilton, also as the crow (or Apache) flies they have Westland helicopters at Yeovil close by. The coast isn't that far away to the South or North East either.

    Helicopters obviously.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dakar sans meatbag

    I have always wanted to do a Dakar but but the dust and the heat etc don't appeal. Guess I am not the outdoor type. But a remote Dakar from living room, what a blast!

  30. Steve

    Shold have been a boat

    Well, if you're gonna bomb a car, you should probably ask a proper land-buggering airforce. Had this been a roboboat, I'm sure the Navy guys would have stuffed it quick-time.

  31. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Thumb Down

    US Navy attacking civillians

    Why would the US Navy be practicing bombing ordinary cars?

  32. Youngdog
    Pirate

    Hans re: Navy High and Dry?

    The Spanish have their Naval Admiralty based in Madrid.

    Obviously they ever really recoved from the whole Drake/Armada incident

  33. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    "What will stop terrorists using these"?

    Note that it can't cope with traffic. At times of high security alert, the highways will be patrolled by crack teams of octogenarian Morris 1000 drivers, travelling in the middle of the road at 22mph, caravans of... of... of caravans, slowing all major routes and elite assault BMW squads, pulling out of side roads without signalling. NOTHING WILL GET PAST!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Christoph

    Christoph, the IRA loved all things American, as most of their funding came from over there!! And that money went on to buy arms from the Middle East and other dodgy areas of the world, which in turn used said money to train and equip the various terrorist groups in Libya and Palestine…

    As someone familiar with that turbulent period in our proud Province’s history, the ultimate hypocrisy of America’s War On Terror that they started is not lost on me!!

  35. Britt Johnston
    Coat

    phew, close escape

    your title almost had me there - it could refer to some FC (Financial Crisis) scheme to eliminate foreign companies dragging on the economy.

  36. James Pickett

    @David Wiernicki

    My thoughts, too. I'd no idea that US-spec Nissans looked quite that rough. Makes you wonder how bad Detroit's output is looking if theirs can't compete!

  37. Johnny FireBlade
    Alert

    Fit it to *any* vehicle?

    "The company says that any vehicle you like can be fitted out with a strap-on robo driver"

    I'd like to see them fit it to a motorcycle. ;)

  38. Zargof
    Stop

    Yes, yes...

    ... but can it fly?

  39. BioTube

    @ Dr. Harkin

    They just have to program it to go off when it crashes and then start a panic. Bad driving takes care of the rest, no suicide bomber needed.

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