posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 03:43 PM
There is a simple reason: The ground is NOT without obstacles.
Basically anyone with a little interest in flight sims could steer an UAV. Also, anyone with some knowledge in IT and electrotechnics could put a
computer and a GPS into an RC aircraft model, designate some waypoints and flight altitudes and he would have a working UAV (WORKING, not necessarily
But on the ground things are different. The problem isnt even the vehicle itself. The problem lies in the uncertainty of ground. If the pilot only
makes ONE wrong move or steering input and that "UGV" could flip over. Peripheral and spherical perception is much more important on the ground than
in the air.
And autonomous steering works even worse: Look up the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005, its a race of robot vehicles that have to follow a precise and very
clearly mapped course of 130 miles through the desert... and only 5 of 23 vehicles made it to the finish. The year BEFORE, not a single car drove
farther than 7.5 miles.
And we´re talking about big large SUVs here that dont care about a bush or little rock in their way, stuffed to the roof with computers and a sensor
array rivalling that of an AWACS airplane...