The robots are demonstrating their ability to help humans in various tasks. We can already see them working in restaurants and airports.
But there is a category that is attracting attention, robot dogs that have already been used in warehouses and even to care for Covid-19 patients and now also to help the United States Army.
The Air Force announced that it deployed a new system during a recent exercise: a series of robot dogs designed to perform situation recognition during a mission with the intention of caring for human soldiers.
The robot dogs, developed by Ghost Robotics, are part of an Air Force Research Laboratory contract that was awarded in April and were deployed last week to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada as part of an exercise of agile combat during which the pilots simulated a hostile attack.
Those responsible for this mission shared that a prototype robot dog is being tested by active duty airmen of the United States Air National Guard who are tasked with analyzing whether it is feasible to deploy a next-generation Advanced Battle Management System.
“A state-of-the-art system designed to provide combatant commanders with the ability to monitor Department of Defense assets in real time,” the Air Force said.
The robot dog model is called Vision 60, it is a military grade version of Ghost Robotics’ Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicle platform that is designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, as well as distributed communications and persistent security.
“Beyond off-road stability and operation in virtually any environment, a central design principle for our legged robots is reduced mechanical complexity compared to any other legged robot, and even traditional tracked UGVs. Complexity, we inherently increase durability, agility and endurance, and reduce the cost of deploying and maintaining ground robots,” said Ghost Robotics.
During the exercise, assigned Airmen from the 321 Contingency Response Squadron and the 621 Contingency Response Wing flew from Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado to Nellis and secured the airfield, to do so, with the robot dogs on board.
From a C-130, they were dispatched outside the aircraft to search for threats before humans inside were exposed to them.
Later the soldiers were in charge quickly to rearm and to refuel their ship while the robot dogs watched next to the security forces.
“The dogs give us images of the area, all while keeping our defenders closer to the plane,” First Sgt. Lee Boston said in the statement.
While details are scant regarding the specific abilities of Vision 60 robot dogs, Ghost Robotics company said they have the ability to tailor them to carry a range of sensors and radios and that strategic partners can create specific solutions for virtually any use case.
It should be noted that electronic dogs are just one more link in what the United States military calls the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) that will leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence and rapid data analysis to detect and counteract threats both in their territory and in the countries where they carry out missions.