The US Marine Corps received an all together different kind of four-legged friend earlier this week, in the form of ‘Spot’ – a hydraulically actuated quadruped designed and produced by Alphabet-owned firm Boston Dynamics.
First unveiled in February this year, the 72kg robot is now being drill-tested alongside marines to evaluate how the quadruped performs in a multitude of different scenarios.
Yesterday, Spot arrived at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, USA, alongside a team from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Spot is designed to be a flexible asset, meaning the quadruped robot is able to work both indoors and outdoors, and across varying types of terrain. DARPA hopes that Spot will be used in a multitude of different scenarios, from simple reconnaissance or load carriage.
Spot is controlled wirelessly via a game controller attached to a laptop computer, and has an operational range of up to 500 metres, not limited to line-of-sight.
So far, Spot has received positive feedback from the Marine units the quadruped has been training alongside. “The Marines [working with Spot] have been very receptive to the new technology, embrace it and came up with new ideas we couldn‘t even dream up” said Captain James Pineiro, head of the Marina Corps Warfighting Lab’s Quantico branch. “We see it as a great potential for the future dismounted infantry. We want to continue to experiment with quadruped technology and find ways that this can be employed to enhance the Marine Corps warfighting capabilties.”
Earlier this year, Boston Dynamics unveiled a short video introducing the quadruped: Check it out below: