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The U.S. military has been interested in unmanned vehicles that can accompany troops moving on foot. It is over this backdrop that an unusual robotic system was recently deployed during a US Air Force exercise: “Robot dogs” designed to enhance the situational awareness of security forces during a mission.
The exercise simulated an agile combat employment during which airmen scrambled to secure a simulated airfield against hostile attack.
The four-legged robots — developed by Ghost Robotics as part of a US Air Force Research Laboratory contract — were deployed to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
The Vision 60 robot is a military-grade version of the company’s Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) platform that’s designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions; distributed communications; and persistent security.
The exercise was planned to test the Air Force’s next-generation Advanced Battle Management System, “a state-of-the-art system designed to provide combatant commanders the ability to control Department of Defense assets in real-time,” according to the Air Force.
“Beyond all-terrain stability and operation in virtually any environment, 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,” according to the company.
Vision 60 is not the only robot dog available. Spot is a yellow robot dog model, manufactured by Boston Dynamics, with capabilities such as climbing terrains and avoiding obstacles.