According to a military press release, the U.S. Space Force conducted a demonstration using “robot dogs” to automate time-consuming security tasks at its Cape Canaveral spaceport. On July 27, the U.S. Space Force successfully tested the robot dogs for patrolling duties at its station in Cape Canaveral in the state of Florida.
The Space Force is a branch of the U.S. army responsible for all space projects and American satellites. It intends to use the robotic dogs for “manual and repetitive tasks” and “damage assessments and patrol to save significant man hours.”
The robots are officially named “Vision 60” or “Ghost Robotics Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Q-UGV).” The robot dogs are 75 centimeters tall and 32kg in weight and can be operated autonomously, or by a human controller. The robotic animals appear to be used to respond to emergencies or participate in safety protocols in the future since Cape Canaveral hosts several rocket launches.
These Q-UGVs seem particularly beloved by the U.S. Air Force, which is in charge of the Space Force, and have been the subject of extensive testing for more than two years, primarily in their patrol dog configurations.
These canine-like robots can also function as small communications nodes, carrying antennas to rapidly extend networks outside of currently available infrastructure or in places where such infrastructure is not present.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that the quadruped robotic animals are rugged machines that can operate on both manmade environments like stairs and natural terrains like sand, rock, and hills. As a result, the U.S. Space Force is confident that the four-legged robots will be able to take over some monotonous security tasks, resulting in the complete automation of the jobs.
Organizations such as Ghost Robotics are working to develop military applications for the same technology, while businesses like Boston Dynamics have planned to use them for emergency and civilian purposes.
The robotic dogs can now swim in shallow waters thanks to a new feature called Nautical Autonomous Unmanned Tail (NAUT), unveiled by the robotic dog’s creators in June. Since these dogs can work nonstop without getting tired, they are ideal for various deployments.
According to a manufacturer from Ghost Robotics on its website, “They’re unstoppable, with the ability to get right back up from any slip, fall, or failure and keep moving using our proprietary blind-mode operations.”
Concerning many is the dangerous mechanisms not so bright past that led to the New York Police Department being obligated to euthanize its robot dog in April 2021 due to public uproar, leaving many fearful of its future.
In July, when a video of one of the robotic dogs with a submachine gun mounted on its head was shared on Twitter, people once again expressed concern about the machines.