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"...the space defense initiative drove the USSR bankrupt, and it originated at my house in Tarzana."
- Larry Niven

Pilot-Robot  
  The piloting gear of a space tug.  

The gritty life of a space tug owner, in the tiny pilot's cabin.

A sturdy, utilitarian craft, the tug had no broad and dangerous ports.The low walls and bulging roof of the tiny pilothouse, lined with spongy gray plastic, were cut only with thin tubes for the instruments. Beside the dial-topped case of the pilot-robot, Captain Rob McGee pulled his square leather face out of a black periscope hood, and looked at them with mild, squinted eyes.


(The pilot-robot from Collision Orbit>)

From Collision Orbit, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Astounding in 1941
Additional resources -

See how the pilot-robot keeps the ship safe by using thermalarm relays to detect small objects in the ships path and maneuver around them.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Collision Orbit
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to Collision Orbit
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

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