It’s the Rugged Automated Training System – RATS, the latest Pentagon venture to turn furry animals into bomb detectors. Wired.com reports:
Dogs remain the military’s best explosives detector — boasting an 80 percent success rate — much to the chagrin of top brass who’ve doled out more than $19 billion (£12.11 billion) for high-tech bomb-detection research since 2004. Rodents, including giant African pouched rats, have sniffed out land mines across Africa and are undergoing military-funded study for their potential to track down mines in warzones.
But keeping the dogs, rats and other animals (including dolphins) up to snuff involves endless time, repetition and refresher courses. The hoped-for solution: RATS, an automated system that would run animals through detection drills, and then submit “detailed data on training status and performance feedback” to human supervisors.
Just another step toward the brave new world in which all animals, even “man’s best friend,” are fully mechanized for optimum output.
Read the article at Wired.