Space Force, the sixth branch of the US military, has tasked robot dogs to patrol its Cape Canaveral base.
Late last month, Space Launch Unit Delta 45, which is responsible for all East Coast space launch operations, conducted a demonstration using Vision 60 quadruped unmanned ground vehicles (Q-UGVs) ) built by Ghost Robotics. Here they are, staring everyone down as a more menacing version of the Boston Dynamics Spot.
This means that if a would-be saboteur sticks their head above the perimeter of the Florida base, they could be greeted by a true sci-fi scene – mechanical quadrupeds stalking the grounds of the first independent military unit dedicated to extraterrestrial affairs. .
As Space.com reported, the Department of Defense said the idea was for the robots to perform “damage assessments and patrols to save significant man-hours.”
Suggesting a successful demonstration, the department said, “The Q-UGV effectively demonstrated how manual and repetitive tasks can be automated using ground robots.”
Ghost Robotics says of the Vision 60 model: “Our Q-UGVs are designed to enable rapid adaptation to new environments using our proprietary Blind Mode Control Core which mimics mammalian functioning in a range of urban and Even if the environment is completely unfamiliar, the vision sensors degrade or fail, you can rest assured that when our legged robot breaks down, slips or falls, it will immediately get up and keep moving.
“Our goal is to make our Q-UGVs an indispensable tool and to continuously push the limits to improve its ability to walk, run, crawl, climb and eventually swim in complex environments in which our customers must evolve, day after day. Ultimately, our robot is made to keep our fighters, workers and K9s out of harm’s way.”
The company’s images below show the Vision 60 traversing marshy terrain and slopes with ease.
While BigDog was amazing to behold in 2005, the land drone field has grown by leaps and bounds since, putting the military mule of Boston Dynamics to shame.
Q-UGVs are also increasingly adopted. US-based Farmers Insurance uses the Spot model to assist its agents with property inspections and “disaster claims in the field” or appraisals in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters and major events.
The UK Atomic Energy Authority has also tested the same robot at the disused Calder Hall nuclear power station in Sellafield, North West England, to carry out routine tasks such as inspections, mapping, data capture and characterization in high risk radioactive environments.
Although the Space Force Vision 60 is not currently equipped with a 7.62 mm tank machine gun (unlike the GNOM of Temerland, which is in action on the front lines of Ukraine), it becomes of increasingly easy to believe that the wars of the future will be able to take place in part by robots. ®