A revolutionary robodog created by Google and Boston Dynamics is currently attending basic training with the Marine Corps in an effort to hone its war-fighting capabilities and test it for combat.
Named Spot, the hydraulic-articulated, four-legged robot was taken to Quantico for basic training, in hopes it can be utilized as infantry support during combat, according to ARS Technica.
“I think a robot like Spot has tons of opportunities [Marines] could use it for, like scouting or load carriage,” roboticist Ben Swilling told IGN. “Robots can’t get shot and they can’t die. If you need to send someone into danger’s way, you don’t want anyone to get hurt.” (RELATED: NASA Creating First Ever Space Shotgun Powerful Enough To Blast Asteroids)
A team from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency will evaluate the dog over a week-long period. Other robots have been trained before Spot, including GUSS an autonomous vehicle, and an amphibious drone named GuardBot. Spot, however revolutionizes prospective robots on the battlefield because it is lighter, faster and can move over all types of terrain.
During the rigorous testing phase with the Marines, the robot maneuvered over obstacles, raced over hills, through the woods and even down urban streets. The Marines and roboticists hope Spot can be used in combat to navigate dangerous areas, while soldiers stand up to 500-feet away, directing the robot with a game controller connected to a laptop.
“Spot is great and has exceeded the metrics that we’ve provided. We see it as a great potential for the future dismounted infantry,” branch head Marine Corps Warfighting Lab Capt. James Pineiro said. “We want to continue to experiment with quadruped technology and find ways that this can be employed to enhance the Marine Corps warfighting capabilities.”