US Military Deploys Robot Dogs To Guard Air Force Base
It’s Black Mirror’s world now, we’re just living in it. The US Air Force has deployed robot dogs to defend its base.
If you’ve seen the Metalhead episode, you know what I’m talking about. In that particular instalment of Charlie Brooker’s warped series, quadrupedal machines control the streets following the unexplained collapse of society.
Quadruped ‘dog’ robots have been around for sometime; for example, Boston Dynamics’ BigDog in 2005. However, 15 years later, the concept is being put to good use for the armed forces.
As reported by The Drive, the US Air Force recently used robotic dogs to defend the perimeters at Nellis Air Force Base while a field test was conducted.
This month’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) test featured Vision 60 models, built by Ghost Robotics. On its website, the company says it’s ‘revolutionising legged robotics and the market for highly-agile and fast tele-operated and autonomous unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs™) for military, homeland security, public safety, and enterprise applications’.
Ghost Robotics adds:
Beyond all-terrain stability and operation in virtually any environment, a core design principle for our legged robots is reduced mechanical complexity when compared to any other legged robots, and even traditional wheeled-tracked UGVs.
By reducing complexity, we inherently increase durability, agility and endurance, and reduce the cost to deploy and maintain ground robots. Our modular design even supports field swapping any sub-assembly within minutes.
While designed for ‘Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, remote inspection, mapping, distributed communications, and persistent security… strategic partners can build solution-specific Q-UGVs for virtually any use-case with their choice of sensors, radios and even size the robot to suit specific requirements by licensing our reference designs’.
The robots were planned for an earlier test, however bandwidth issues meant it had to be postponed. Nevertheless, the use of robotic dogs is a dazzling, mildly frightening look at warfare of the future. With soldiers set to deal with ‘a dizzying array of information’, these robot pooches could be key to insuring smooth, critical communication across all combat scenarios.
This latest demonstration featured 65 government teams from every service including the Coast Guard, 35 separate military platforms and 70 different industry partners.
Master Sgt. Lee Boston explained, as per CNN, ‘The dogs give us visuals of the area, all while keeping our defenders closer to the aircraft.’ Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown Jr. added, ‘Our warfighters and combatant commands must fight at internet speeds to win.’
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