US Marines Test Robot Dogs with AI Rifles

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The US Marine Forces Special Operations Command revealed it was testing four-legged unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), or robot dogs, that are armed with artificial intelligence rifles. The tests were made public by Eric Shell from Onyx Industries, which is the company that supplied the artificial-intelligence-enabled weapon.

Shell stated that the US Marine command has two Vision 60 quadrupedal UGVs from Ghost Robotics that were fitted with gun systems that were based on Onyx Industries’ SENTRY remote weapon system. The rifle reportedly uses an AI-assisted Digital Imaging System that is used to automatically detect targets, before receiving authorization from a human operator to engage.

According to The Defense Post, the weapon also has an X360 Pan/Tilt Gimbal stack for electro-optical/infrared capability, as well as what the company calls “a Remote Actuated Weapon” to help scan for people, vehicles, and drones. The company has stated that the trial will help “revolutionize the way we approach unmanned defense technology” for improved precision and safety.

Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that the integration of weapons systems into four-legged UGVs is not a new practice for the military. The US Army was the first to announce it was moving towards equipping its Vision 60 Q-UGVs with the Next-Generation Squad Weapon, a move which was said to have numerous advantages, including providing increased safety for soldiers (since robot dogs can be used for highly dangerous operations instead of risking human lives).

These cutting-edge platforms can fit into tight spaces such as tunnels and trenches, compared to other larger and more cumbersome military ground vehicles. They can also be used for clearing mined or booby-trapped areas to minimize risk to soldiers.

“Together, we are pushing the boundaries of innovation and redefining the future of unmanned systems,” Shell concluded in his statement.