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    Future of Infantry: State-Of-The Art Google Robot Tested by US Marine Corps

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    Spot, the most advanced prototype combat robot manufactured by Boston Dynamics, a company owned by Google, finished testing with the US Marines last week.

    Spot, the quadruped, electrically operated all-terrain battlefield device walks on four hydraulically actuated legs. It weighs about 160 pounds.

    A human operator controls the robot wirelessly from a distance of up to a third of a mile using a laptop equipped with a radio transmitter and a video game-like controller.

    Ben Swilling, a roboticist with Boston Dynamics operates “Spot”, a quadruped prototype robot, during a demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 16, 2015. Employees of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency trained Marines from the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab how to operate “Spot”.
    © Photo : DOD
    Ben Swilling, a roboticist with Boston Dynamics operates “Spot”, a quadruped prototype robot, during a demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 16, 2015. Employees of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency trained Marines from the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab how to operate “Spot”.

    The new Boston Dynamics’ military robot underwent testing alongside other devices as a part of the Marine’s battlefield robotics evaluation program at their base in Quantico, Virginia. The project is supported by Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

    ​“We want to continue to experiment with quadruped technology and find ways that this can be employed to enhance the Marine Corps warfighting capabilities,” said Capt. James Pineiro, the branch head for the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.

    Spot, a quadruped prototype robot, aids Marines in clearing a room during a demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 16, 2015.
    © Photo : DOD
    Spot, a quadruped prototype robot, aids Marines in clearing a room during a demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 16, 2015.

    Spot has been tested on various missions, including entering buildings, that require peaking around corners and searching for possible threats using its advanced sensors. Besides urban terrain, the robot has proven to operate in woodlands and hills.

    Spot’s predecessors  include larger, clumsier and noisier models BigDog and LS3.

    “Spot is great and has exceeded the metrics that we’ve provided,” said Pineiro. “We see it as a great potential for the future dismounted infantry.”

    The exact timeframe for battlefield robots joining the active ranks of the Marine Corps remains unspecified, while research and development continues.

    “The Marines have been very receptive to the new technology, embrace it and come up with new ideas we couldn’t even dream up,” said Pineiro.

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    Tags:
    combat robots, robotics, Spot, US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Boston Dynamics, US Marine Corps, United States, Virginia
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