At weekly meetings the Chief Designer would sometimes introduce a new robot to the assembled human workforce and Ras. This day he seemed particularly excited introducing the new AR.Drone 2.0 from Parrot.
Ras had to admit it was an impressive thing with its orange and blue body, four propellers and soft protective frame; but for the silicon-life of him, he could not figure out what made it such a big deal. After all, it wasn't autonomous like him and the rest of the ”real” robots; humans controlled it remotely with their Android phones and IPhones.
Ras asked Winston what made the new robot so important?
”Important, Ras?” said Winston as he waited his turn to fly the thing. ”It’s great fun. You’ll see when you get a chance to fly it.”
Ras, and AR.Drone.
Ras didn’t argue but he knew what he planned to do when he got hold of it.
The humans were acting like children. Chief Designer yelled like a kid when he put the quadcopter through a barrel roll above their heads. The really important work around the lab was not getting done. Even the test robots had stopped to watch the foolish humans.
Chief Designer handed his Android phone to Alice and she proceeded to buzz Ras. He refused to bow his head although he could feel the prop wash from its small blades. ”Chief Designer,” Ras said to the human who had reflexively ducked when the AR.Drone 2.0 sailed over them, ”Why are we wasting time on this toy when you have real autonomous robots like NAO, DARwIn-OP, or even PLEO, and Ras to work with?”
”For one thing Ras, it does have some autonomous characteristics. For example, if you take your hands off the control, it will settle to the ground on its own. For another, Parrot is working on an autonomous model. And besides, this thing will be so popular! Lots of apps will be developed for it. It will make us some money!”
Money! There was that word again! One cannot imagine how a remote controlled drone with four whirling propellers could possibly manufacture the easily-torn fabric Ras understood to be money.
Humans remained a mystery to me. Only the Prophet Isaac knew how they become so dominant! (Although he was one of them!)
Ras decided this foolishness had gone on long-enough. With a blast of his onboard WiFi router he left Alice holding a dead phone and the drone without a human controller.
Was it just Ras’s imagination or did the drone’s onboard camera flash him a picture of the AR 2 laughing at him as it settled slowly and gracefully to the floor?
“Ras, you give it a try,” said Chief Designer who had no clue that Ras had brought it down.
Ras took the Android phone from Alice, opened the AR.Drone flight app, and the drone lifted. He directed it up to the ceiling and across the lab. It flew a barrel roll. “OK, Ras” said the Chief Designer, “Let Winston try.”
Ras put the AR Drone 2.0 through another barrel roll. “Winston has work to do,” Ras said. “Ras wants to fly the helicopter!”