It’s one thing for humans to make robots, but the idea of robots making robots tends to conjure all those sci-fi scenarios wherein Arnold Schwarzenegger or Keanu Reeves have to save what’s left of humanity. Nonetheless, the U.S. military presses on. According to this proposal, as Danger Room points out, the Navy is pursuing technologies that would allow swarms of semi-autonomous ‘bots to interact, team up, and manufacture things via 3-D printing tech.
In other words, the Navy wants robots that can make, among other things, more robots. And it wants to give the robots the capability to do it quickly wherever they are operating, via rapid prototyping machines that can churn out parts assembly line style in a variety of materials, including “multi-functional materials, programmable materials, metamorphic materials, extreme materials, heterogeneous materials, synthetic materials, etc.”