Who remembers watching the first Terminator film and thinking ‘thank **** these robot things are not actually a thing’. I am sure many people who have experienced the visual delight of the film knew deep down that, one day, the robots would arrive.
And now it seems like that day has finally come after the United States Air Force (USAF) announced that they have just deployed their first ‘robot dogs’. The dogs will be used to patrol air bases around the country.
Of course, this is not the first time we have seen robot dogs. But this is the first time (publically at least) that a military organisation has announced that they will be deploying robots in a roll that would ordinarily be undertaken by their animal (or human) counterparts.
The Drive recently reported that these fascinating pieces of machinery had been deployed to ‘defend the perimeters’ of an airbase; Nellis Air Force Base, to be precise.
The thought of these robots patrolling an airbase would probably be enough to deter anyone with any evil intent from trying to penetrate the outer perimeter of an airbase.
After all, we have all seen the films where robots have no hesitation in unleashing their incredible power on humans. It is almost as if science fiction writers actually know what the future holds when they write the scripts for the films which we have all come to know and love.
These robot dogs are intended for surveillance purposes rather than for ‘seek and destroy’ objectives. They are controlled by humans and can patrol the same bit of land until their batteries run out.
Obviously, they don’t need feeding (apart from electricity), so they can pretty much stay on station until their batteries run out. Their deployment means that their human counterparts can remain close to the aircraft they are protecting whilst the robot dogs wander off into the distance, looking for signs of life.
The ‘dogs’ are made by a company called Ghost Robotics. Talking about their creation, a spokesperson for the company said:
‘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.
‘By reducing complexity, we inherently increase durability, agility and endurance, and reduce the cost to deploy and maintain ground robots.
‘Our modular design even supports field swapping any sub-assembly within minutes’.
Give it another few years, and robots will almost certainly be more commonplace on the battlefield in more ‘offensive’ rather than defensive roles.
Has anyone registered the domain name for SkyNet yet…?