It sounds like that one episode of "Black Mirror."
Soon, a squadron of dog-like robots will patrol and monitor an Air Force base in Florida, thanks to a robotics company that's making robodogs explicitly for military applications.
Ghost Robotics recently unveiled its Vision 60 robots — four-legged machines that can be remote-controlled to surveil an area, clear bombs, or otherwise assist soldiers, according to Digital Trends. You can think of them sort of like the evil twin of Spot, the robodog developed by Boston Dynamics — but don't call it that around Ghost.
"We try not to refer to them as robot dogs," Ghost Robotics CEO and President Jiren Parikh told Digital Trends. " We refer to them as Q-UGVs: Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicles."
The Vision 60s are meant to be able to cross difficult terrain and survive a blow, flailing their legs around to right themselves if they're kicked over. Down the road, Ghost hopes to ramp their autonomy and build a platform for other military robots, but for now they're still finding new uses for the robodogs.
"Imagine every time [the Air Force goes] somewhere to refuel, to pick up supplies, or to protect our fighter jets on the tarmac, our robots climb out and do perimeter security," Parikh told Digital Trends.
The latest Vision 60s ground drone prototypes in desert sand paint job shipping to our defense and homeland security customers this week. @USArmy @USNavy @usairforce @mhasingapore @AustralianArmy #defense #defence #autonomous #drones pic.twitter.com/b6NbXd0H6i
— Ghost Robotics (@Ghost_Robotics) July 21, 2020
Friend or Foe?
Thankfully, Parikh clarified that these military robots won't carry any weapons of their own. Instead, the company wants them to handle jobs that would typically put a human in danger.
"We've not heard once where [governments] want to use this for weapons," he told Digital Trends.
READ MORE: Meet Ghost Robotics, the Boston Dynamics of combat bots [Digital Trends]
More on robodogs: US Military Deploys Robot Dogs to Guard Air Force Base