Marines train Google’s 160-pound robo-dog Spot to look for enemies on rugged, urban terrain

By @vitthernandez on
Spot 2
Ben Swilling, a roboticist with Boston Dynamics operates “Spot”, a quadruped prototype robot, during a demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 16, 2015. Employees of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency trained Marines from the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab how to operate “Spot”. US Marines

The US Marines trained for a week in September Spot, the 160-pound robo-dog owned by Boston Dynamics, a company owned by Google. The aim of the training was to test Spot’s ability to try different terrains such as hills, woodlands and urban landscape.

Spot Four-legged robot runs towards potential future with Marine infantry  US Marines

Engadget reports that the soldiers taught the robo-dog how to search for enemies. The training was held at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia on Sept 16 by employees of Boston and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

For the urban trial, Spot entered buildings before the soldiers to simulate spying from corners to observe possible enemies and threats.  The marines controlled Spot 500 metres away through a laptop and video game controller. The marines found it easy to control the dog that they said even young kids could do it.

Spot 3 Spot, a quadruped prototype robot, aids Marines in clearing a room during a demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 16, 2015. Employees of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency trained Marines from the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab how to operate “Spot”.  US Marines

Spot, though, will not be part of Marine operations. It was just a test run to check if the Pentagon will try other robots in the future. “We want to continue to experiment with quadruped technology and find ways this can be employed to enhance the Marine Corps warfighting capabilities,” explains Capt James Pineiro, branch head for the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, quotes the Marines’ newsletter.

He adds that the Marines has been very open to the new technology and come up with new ideas they did not dream of. Pineiro says Spot, which is not the first robo-dog since there were the heavier LS3 and BigDog that preceded it, exceeded metrics provided by the Marines.

“We see it as a great potential for the future dismounted infantry,” he states.

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