Dogs have long played a role in various military operations and serve as a valuable, capable assent in a range of missions. With the right training, it’s amazing what these faithful non-human soldiers can accomplish.


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While the U.S.M.C. is familiar with training dogs of many types, one of their latest additions, known as “Spot” isn’t like any dog they’ve trained before. That’s because Spot isn’t really a dog, but a quadruped robot that’s been designed for a range of military uses.

Training Spot As It Trains Marines
Developed by Boston Dynamics, Spot comes from a family of many other animal-esque, remote-controlled robots that the Google-owned company has developed, such as Big Dog, Little Dog, SandFlea, and Cheetah.

Spot is a faceless 160-pound four-legged machine that can be controlled via laptop and joystick from a 500 meter distance.

Credit: ArticCynda

The hydraulically actuated robot is considerably easy to pilot, quite tough to knock over, able to traverse all manner or terrain, from hilly woodland to urban debris zones.

Spot is not a combat robot but would more likely be used for scouting operations and to assist in carrying loads. DARPA and Boston Dynamics employees have not only “trained” Spot for certain actions, such as peering around corners to spot enemies and other dangers, they are also using the robot as a training tool for U.S. Marines at Quantico, VA.

Not The First And Not The Last
Though Spot may not see real action in the field, the robot is part of an ongoing evaluation of robotics used for non-combative military purposes. Although the idea of weaponizing any sort of autonomous equipment has been a very contentious issue, the U.S. military has continued to invest in robotics as a way to mitigate danger for soldiers and to help lighten their load in a range of operations.

Spot isn’t the first robot that seeks to accomplish this and it’s safe to say, it probably won’t be the last.

What are your thoughts on Spot’s capabilities and how do you think they’ll be improved in other military robots of the near future? Tell us your thoughts on this development in the comments.

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