The latest version of a walking, quadruped battlefield robot from Boston Dynamics, the military robotics maker owned by Google X, was tested by U.S. Marines last week.
Spot weighs about 70kgs, is electrically operated and walks on four hydraulically-actuated legs. It’s controlled via wireless by an operator who can be up to 500 meters away.
It underwent trials and testing at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia as part of evaluations by the Marines on future military uses of robotic technology. In a series of missions, it was evaluated in different terrains including hills, woodlands and urban areas.
Spot is the latest in a line of robots developed by Boston Dynamics and compared to those earlier robots, called LS3 and Big Dog, Spot is said to be more agile and quieter.
The U.S. military is interested in the use of robots in combat because they can more confidently be sent into dangerous situations without the worry of loss of life.
In one of the tests at Quantico, the robot was sent into a building ahead of Marines to simulate looking around corners for enemies and threats.