Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida is to utilise semi-autonomous ‘robot dogs’ as part of their security forces. The base’s 325th Security Forces Squadron has been working with Ghost Robotics to develop the new computerized canines, which demonstrated their abilities at a recent event.
The robots will be given a patrol path which will be set and monitored by the base security forces. They are then controlled via a virtual reality headset, allowing the operator to see what the robot dog is detecting through its mobile camera and sensor platform. The operator can also talk through a speaker on the machine, enabling his to issue challenges and verbal commands.
Speaking of the issue of the new robot dogs Maj. Jordan Criss, 325th Security Forces Squadron commander, said that:
“We are very excited, we are the first unit within the Department of Defense to use this technology for enhanced security patrolling operations. These dogs will be an extra set of eyes and ears while computing large amounts of data at strategic locations throughout Tyndall Air Force Base. They will be a huge enhancement for our defenders and allow flexibility in the posting and response of our personnel.”
The new robot patrollers will not replace the existing guard dogs, instead supplementing them with additional patrollers on the ground. According to the U.S. Air Force statement on the new technology, the system “…has the potential to replace and exceed the capabilities of certain static defense equipment especially in a contingency, disaster, or deployed environment.”
This makes Tyndall, very much in the hurricane zone, a logical place to trial the usefulness of the new system before an major roll out to the rest of the U.S. military and emergency services.