Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:17 AM EDT2013-05-22 12:17:24 GMT
ORLANDO - CBS News reports an FBI agent was involved in a fatal shootout in Orlando, Florida early Wednesday morning. CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reports the victim was a friend of TamerlanMore>>
CBS News reports an FBI agent was involved in a fatal shootout in Orlando, Florida early Wednesday morning. CBS News reports the victim was a friend of one of two suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing.More>>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:00 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:00:18 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County students experience some the largest classes in the country. And while that overcrowding is expected to decrease by one or two students, the vast majority of kids won't see anyMore>>
Clark County students experience some the largest classes in the country. Although the overcrowding is expected to decrease by one or two students next year, the vast majority of kids won't see any significant change.More>>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:56 AM EDT2013-05-22 10:56:40 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police are on scene of a shooting on the 1700 block of Karen Avenue at the Sonoma Shadows Apartments with an FBI agent being shot. This started off as an FBI Task Force InvestigationMore>>
The search for a homicide suspect turned into a shooting Tuesday night. More>>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:47 AM EDT2013-05-22 10:47:05 GMT
LAS VEGAS - The Clark County School Board appoints Pat Skorkowsky as the next superintendent of the school district. The board is in contract negotiations with Skorkowsky, but the details of the contractMore>>
The Clark County Board of School Trustees appointed Pat Skorkowsky as the next superintendent of the school district Tuesday night. More>>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:05 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:05:29 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police are investigating a crash involving a teenager who was hit by a vehicle. According to police, the victim was walking on a sidewalk at about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday near Tropicana AvenueMore>>
Metro Police are investigating an incident where a teenager was clipped by a truck's side mirror.More>>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:04 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:04:36 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police are investigating the discovery of a deceased person in a home in northwest Las Vegas. According to Metro, a person arrived at the home in the 8000 block of Green Pasture AvenueMore>>
Metro Police are investigating the discovery of a deceased person in a home in northwest Las Vegas.More>>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:55 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:55:25 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The ratio of students to teachers in the Clark County School District from first through fifth grade and the ratio of students to classes in kindergarten gradually improved toward the endMore>>
The ratio of students to teachers in the Clark County School District from first through fifth grade and the ratio of students to classes in kindergarten gradually improved toward the end of the last decade but worsened after the 2009-2010 school year.More>>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:45 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:45:27 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The deadly tornado in Oklahoma is bringing back some bad memories for one woman who now calls Las Vegas her home. Stephanie McGregor is originally from Moore, Oklahoma and lived there whenMore>>
The deadly tornado in Oklahoma is bringing back some bad memories for one woman now living in Las Vegas.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- Humans have been waiting for the day when robot servants will cater to our every whim. Movies and TV portray them as oh-so-helpful, always ready to assist their human overlords.
And it's in this spirit of optimism -- some might say naivete -- that technical whizbangs working for the Nevada National Security Site, formerly known as the Nevada Test Site, have unveiled the MDARS, short for Mobile Detection Assessment Response System. Call them what you want, they're robots. And they are now on the job patrolling sensitive parts of the sprawling desert facility.
"It thinks on its own, and in that regard it doesn't require the constant plume of intervention," said NNSA senior engineer Steve Scott.
Scott beams like a proud new papa in describing his mechanical babies whose first assignment is to patrol the perimeter of a radioactive waste facility at the test site. They are expensive, more than $2 million for the first three, but the government says they will save a lot of money in the long run, in part by freeing up humans to do other things.
"They are like a dog I had in Oklahoma on our farm," said Scott. "You give it boundaries and say, 'This is your responsibility, you take care of this,' and that is how they operate. It's just like an electronic dog."
Make that dogs, because like wolves, these robots can operate in packs. They are aware of each other and aware of themselves. As we recall, self-awareness didn't work out so well in the first Terminator.
"This is your true brains behind the whole unit," said Scott. "There are essentially four computers running inside there to be able to handle everything."
That's great. Four computers to "handle everything," including homo sapiens, which is exactly what the MDARS were designed to do. The lab techs at General Dynamics took them from an idea to operational status in just three years. Which is impressive, even to skeptics who remember the prototypes in Robocop.
The MDARS can patrol areas too large for fences, too contaminated for people, run at 20 miles an hour, detect movement of any kind in a 1,200 meter radius, but differentiate between people and animals. They can operate day or night, using radar, infrared, audio and video capabilities. They can check locks and gates for signs of tampering, cruise around looking for trouble or lurk in the dark waiting for victims -- or rather, intruders.
And there have been many intruders at the test site over the decades -- protesters, trespassers, and even spies.
The bots might also come in handy if you had, say, a non-existent military base that attracts flying saucer hunters.
As a demonstration, Scott put his kids up against a special-ops team.
"We threw our red team guys against them, sneaking across the desert, and it was picking them up about a half mile out. Nailing them right there," he said. "If you come out here, there is a high probability we will find you."
The Department of Energy says their robots are not armed, sort of like Nevada's peace-loving predator drones were not armed before someone attached the sidewinder missiles. While these fellas bear a striking resemblance to the lovable imps from Short Circuit, there is one factoid to keep in mind, "You can't kill them. They keep on running," said Scott.
How comforting. When we asked the DOE if the MDARS will be equipped with something benign, maybe a laser, they didn't exactly say no. Robot? Laser? What does that bring to mind?
Scott says the U.S. Army has its own version of MDARS and those machines have likely been weaponized. The Army says robots will never replace human soldiers, but are like a force multiplier.
At present, the Nevada robots are guarding a location known as Area 5, but may also be deployed to other unspecified areas in the near future.