Last week, one of the US military’s largest ever high-tech experiments looked like something from the set of a science fiction movie. Four-legged robot dogs scampered out from Air Force planes at an airfield in the Mojave Desert, offering a possible preview into the future of warfare.
Preliminary scouting missions could look very different with electronic canines taking the lead, making it safer for US troops. In fact, the robot dogs would run outside the aircraft to scan for threats before humans inside the plane would be deployed, according to an Air Force news release on September 3.
The robots are just one element in what the US military calls the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). The advanced military technologies use artificial intelligence and rapid data analytics to detect and counter threats to the US military. Furthermore, the technology is used to protect assets in space and possible attacks on US homeland with missiles or other weapons.
More Specifics on the Robot Dogs
The latest ABMS exercise took place from August 31 to September 3, and involved every branch of the military. Also, it included the Coast Guard, and utilized 30 locations around the country. Specifically, the military tested the electronic canines at Nellis Air Force Base located in Nevada.
“The dogs give us visuals of the area, all while keeping our defenders closer to the aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Lee Boston of the Air Force’s 621st Contingency Response Group.
The manufacturers named the electronic dogs Vision 60 UGVs, or ‘autonomous unmanned ground vehicles’. Ghost Robotics of Philadelphia, PA created the robot technology. It promotes the dog’s ability to operate in any terrain or environment. Additionally, the machine is adaptable to carrying various sensors and radios on a fairly simple to use platform.
“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,” the company’s website says. “By reducing complexity, we inherently increase durability, agility and endurance. Our Q-UGVs are unstoppable.”
Indeed, the technology could be a major breakthrough, and could be a sign of the future of the US military. In addition, the robots may even be a vital part of what the Air Force news release calls the “kill chain.”
“We are exploring how to use … ABMS to link sensors to shooters across all battlespaces, at speed and under threat. Maturing these concepts and capabilities is necessary to fight and win in the information age,” said Gen. John Raymond, chief of space operations.