Compared by many to the rogue robotic dogs in the perception challenging series Black Mirror, Robodogs are being used by the police, fire departments and the army to assess potentially hostile situations without endangering lives.
Designed with human and canine safety in mind, the dogs are a remote-control operated device that uses thermal imaging with LIDAR sensing technology to create a 3D map of an environment.
Ghost Robotics have created the VISION 60 Q-UGV 5th, described as an agile and durable all-weather ground drone which is used in a broad range of unstructured environments for security, defence, and enterprise applications. The technology leverages the latest in sensors and communications hardware as well as operational and autonomy applications and AI.
Created to mimic an animal’s natural reaction to new environments, the dogs weigh 51kgs and have a top speed of 3m/s with a maximum distance of 10m. They also have a runtime of up to 3hrs with a payload of 10kgs. They can walk across even the iciest terrains, as well as run, climb mountains, crawl, and wade through up to 1.5m of water.
The intention is for the dogs to eventually be able to swim. The device is self-correcting, so if it stumbles, falls, or is knocked to the ground, it can get back up again and will carry on with its mission.
The devices have been likened to ground drones and they can access areas which vehicles cannot. And, with the use of cameras, sensors, mesh communications and manipulators they can collect data without endangering lives.
The potential uses of these devices are far and wide, from intelligent communication to data collection. They can be used for national security missions to guard duty by verifying identifications to secure areas.
Verizon used a 5G connected robodog at a Barcelona Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference as EVP Chief Strategy Officer of Verizon, Rima Qureshi, gave a speech on Robotics and Efficiency, and Metrohm used the technology for chemical sensing.
The 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team are the first robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) enhanced brigade using the Ghost V60 quadruped. Manipulated by a handheld controller, not unlike a large handheld computer game, the brigade’s operator is able to keep a safe distance whilst gathering information to relay to the teams being deployed on the ground.
Robodogs, whether you agree with them or not, are certainly a fascinating addition to the IoT and robotics family, and it is exciting to see where the technology will go. The Camero Xaver Long Range 40 (XLR40) device can detect human life through walls, so perhaps in the future these dogs can be used to save lives in disaster-torn areas by using thermal scanning to detect human life in collapsed buildings. Also, given a dog’s sense of smell is so strong, perhaps the technology could be used to sense smells in areas with gas leaks or similar.
Plus, IoT Insider’s sister publication Electronic Specifier has more at its Robotics industries page.