I was just watching an Army Jobs advert on Channel 4, and it showed them piloting an unmanned aerial vehicle with an Xbox 360 controller.
I wondered whether this was just for TV, but it seems that US marines have also been spotted controlling an SUGVs (small unmanned ground vehicle) with an XBox controller.
It would make a lot of sense as the XBox 360 controller:
- Uses a common USB interface
- Has drivers available for Windows, OS X and Linux
- Has been extensively tested by millions of gamers
- Is perhaps one of the greatest game controllers ever built
So why reinvent the wheel? You can see the full advert below…
Update 29th April 2008
I wrote to Army under the Freedom of Information act to find out if it really was an XBOX controller, and here is their reply.
Headquarters Army Recruiting and Training Division Trenchard Lines Upavon Pewsey Wiltshire SN9 6BE Telephone: 01980 615065 Facsimile: 01980 615078 D/ARTD/1/3/12/1 75017 29 April 2008 Mr P Manders Dear Mr Manders, Thank you for your email of 8 April to the Ministry of Defence regarding an Army Recruitment Video. I have been asked to reply. The highly sophisticated mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) shown in the advert is the Desert Hawk 3 which is currently deployed on operations in Iraq. Desert Hawk 3 is a portable UAV surveillance system which provides aerial video reconnaissance. The equipment can be used for a variety of tasks, such as force protection for convoys and patrols, route clearance, base security, reconnaissance or target tracking. The system used to control the planes has been adapted by Lockheed Martin and although the controller used by the soldiers to fly the plane is very similar to a Microsoft Xbox 360 controller, it is not the same. You will see that there is no Microsoft wording on the controller nor a wired headset port. The advert demonstrates that the skills and abilities that an individual develops in their life prior to joining the Army may have a critical application within the British Army on operations today. I hope this is helpful. Yours Sincerely Jodie C Spreadbury