Will the future of the Marines include a few good robots? It all depends on Spot.
The 160-pound robo dog, which was built by Boston Dynamics, is being tested by the U.S. Marine Corps to see if it can be useful in combat or for other military tasks, like loading cargo. According to Gizmodo, this month Spot was put to the test at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, in several scenarios that would normally be completed by live dogs, including ensuring a building was safe for human Marines to enter.
The robot, which is operated by hand controls up to 500 feet away, is able to move across different types of terrain and is able to steady itself when being kicked (see video below for a demonstration). According to the U.S. Marines, this model is also leaner, quieter, and more agile than previous models.
“We want to continue to experiment with quadruped technology and find ways that this can be employed to enhance the Marine Corps warfighting capabilities,” said Capt. James Pineiro, the branch head for Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.
Spot won’t be deploying anytime soon—the robot wasn’t designed for actual battle, but the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab is using it as an example of how robotics can be beneficial to the military.
“Robots can’t get shot and they can’t die,” said Ben Swilling, a roboticist with Boston Dynamics. “If you need to send someone into danger’s way, you don’t want anyone to get hurt.”