Wednesday, 3 January 2018
“The president is never in public without a protection detail of eight battlesuits. Four of them are always close to him, the remainder work a few metres out as an outer screen. At least one of those suits is empty. You can’t tell which with the tinted faceplates.
Any sign of trouble and that hollow suit engulfs the president. Four suits then take off in different directions while the others act as a rear guard. It doesn’t matter if the president is wounded, unconscious or wants to stay, that suit will not stop until it has him in a safe area.”
In a previous post I examined the idea that battlesuits might be able to move when unoccupied, effectively becoming hollow-centred androids. I also touched on the idea of battlesuits moving irrespective to the wearer’s volition. A squad of empty SWAT battlesuits might take hostages on board and transport them out in armoured safety while a firefight might still be in progress. This concept is likely to be used by other services, such as fire departments or mountain rescue.
A battlesuit or similar device capable of autonomous movement might have other applications.
For example, a major obstacle in learning to hang glide must be learning to “throw yourself off a cliff”. A battlesuit could take over and perform such an action when necessary. Training for parachuting involves at least a day of drilling so that you do not hesitate when you reach the door. A battlesuit could be programmed to automatically walk the occupant to the door and jump. Likewise, the suit might perform related skills such as free fall or wingsuit manoeuvrer and safe landing. Potentially individuals with no relevant training could jump like experts, whether they want to or not!
Capability for autonomous movement has other applications. High diving is an obvious one. If a soldier has to jump off a high cliff into a lake the suit may take over. Continuing with the theme of jumping the suit might be programmed with pakour/ free running-type movements, allowing the user to jump from rooftop to rooftop or branch to branch like an expert. The suit’s rangefinders and its ability to precisely regulate the force used for a jump are an obvious advantage. Likewise the suit may advise the wearer when a jump just cannot be made.
A friend of mine suggested that a suit could be programmed to override a wearer’s flinch reaction when hit by non-penetrating weapons fire. This suggests that actions such as dashing between cover might be autonomous. Perhaps the wearer selects the next desired position and lets their suit select the best way to reach it.
Autonomous movement capability has various advantages but is likely to concern some potential users. It can be argued that the user is surrendering control of their fate and free-will. Suits can be programmed to perform certain actions even if the wearer does not want them to. A sabotaged control system could deliberately put the user in hazardous situations and is potentially a means of kidnap or assassination. There may be battlesuits that are deliberately incapable of autonomous movement. Distrust of battlesuit control system might be a possible quirk, and a reason for discharge from the military.