They could be part of safety protocols and emergency responses

By Ameya Paleja

  • Robot dogs can work well in natural as well as man-made environments
  • They are ideal for repetitive tasks and can also be controlled remotely
  • Patrol dogs are much better than their gun-totting counterparts

The U.S. Space Force conducted a demonstration using robot dogs in a bid to automate repetitive security tasks at its Cape Canaveral spaceport, a military press release said. 

Robot dogs have been touted as replacements for many routines and highly hazardous tasks since they can get the job done without being exposed to risk, truly man’s best friend. While companies like Boston Dynamics have planned to use them for civilian and emergency purposes, those like Ghost Robotics are working to develop military applications for the same technology. 

What functions can robot dogs perform? 

Earlier this year, we reported how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was considering deploying these robot dogs to patrol the Southwest U.S. border. According to the DHS, the quadruped robotic animals are rugged devices that can work in natural terrains like sand, rock, and hills but also on human-built environments like stairs. 

In June, the robotic dog’s makers unveiled an added feature called Nautical Autonomous Unmanned Tail (NAUT) that enables the dogs to swim in shallow waters as well. This makes them perfect for a broad spectrum of deployments since these dogs can work round the clock without getting tired. 

How does Space Force plan to deploy them? 

According to the press release, the Space Force plans to deploy the robotic dogs, formally known as Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Q-UGVs), for “manual and repetitive tasks”. To this effect, the youngest branch of the U.S. military carried out the demonstration on July 27, and part of the exercise was also posing in front of a giant U.S. flag. 

The U.S. Air Force, which oversees the Space Force, seems to have a soft spot for these Q-UGVs and has been experimenting with them for over two years now, mostly in their patrol dog versions. This also means that we will see a much toned-down version of the Q-UGV as compared to the gun-totting versions, we saw last year.

The Space Force also plans to use these Q-UGVs to perform “damage assessments” and “save significant man-hours”, Gizmodo reported. Since Cape Canaveral is involved in rocket launches, the robot dogs could be seen in action as part of safety protocols or even emergency responses. According to a report, The Space Force plans to deploy them as part of Space Launch Delta 45, the guardian force of the Cape Canaveral Space Force operations. 

Since a large number of robotic dog makers are now available in the market, it does not take one long to put together an armed patrol dog of their own. Not only does this carry large risks for people, but it also harms the reputation of companies that do not wish to use their robotic dogs for such purposes. 

Guess, we really need to limit the use of these dogs for patroling or shooting instructions, at the most, and nothing else.