Definitions

remote-control bomb

Remote control vehicle

A remote control vehicle is defined as any mobile device that is controlled by a means that does not restrict its motion with an origin external to the device. This is often a radio control device, cable between control and vehicle, or an infrared controller. A remote control vehicle or RCV differs from a robot in that the RCV is always controlled by a human and takes no positive action autonomously.

Recently, Sony Ericsson released a remote control car that could be controlled by any Bluetooth cell phone. Radio is the most popular because it does not require the vehicle to be limited by the length of the cable or in a direct line of sight with the controller (as with the infrared set-up). Bluetooth is still too expensive and short range to be commercially viable.

Applications

Scientific

Remote control vehicles have various scientific uses including hazardous environments, working in the deep ocean, and space exploration. The majority of the probes to the other planets in our solar system have been remote control vehicles, although some of the more recent ones were partially autonomous. The sophistication of these devices has fueled greater debate on the need for manned spaceflight and exploration. The Voyager I spacecraft is the first craft of any kind to leave the solar system. The martian explorers Spirit and Opportunity have provided continuous data about the surface of Mars since January 3, 2004.

Jason is the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's deep water explorer and can withstand depths of up to 6,500 feet. The Scorpio ROV is a British submersible that rescued the crew of the Russian AS-28 on August 7, 2005.

Military and law enforcement

Military usage of remotly controlled military vehicles dates back to the first half of 20th century. Soviet Red Army used remotely controlled teletanks during 1930s in the Winter War and early stage of World War II. There were also remotely controlled cutters and experimental remotely controlled planes in the Red Army.

Remote control vehicles are used in law enforcement and military engagements for some of the same reasons. The exposure to hazards are mitigated to the person who operates the vehicle from a location of relative safety. Remote controlled vehicles are used by many police department bomb-squads to defuse or detonate explosives. See Dragon Runner, Military robot.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have undergone a dramatic evolution in capability in the past decade. Early UAV's were capable of reconnaissance missions alone and then only with a limited range. Current UAV's can hover around possible targets until they are positively identified before releasing their payload of weaponry. Backpack sized UAV's will provide ground troops with over the horizon surveillance capabilities.

Recreation and hobby

See Radio-controlled model. Small scale remote control vehicles have long been popular among hobbyists. These remote controlled vehicles span a wide range in terms of price and sophistication. There are many types of radio controlled vehicles. These include on-road cars, off-road trucks, boats, airplanes, and even helicopters. The "robots" now popular in television shows such as Robot Wars, are a recent extension of this hobby (these vehicles do not meet the classical definition of a robot; they are remotely controlled by a human). Radio-controlled submarine also exist.

See also

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