A military man crouches down with him and in front of him is a headless, four-legged robot dog
US Air Force exercised robot dogs last week | Twitter | @Ghost_Robotics
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New Delhi: In a bid to increase use of artificial intelligence in the military, the US Air force conducted a major exercise with robot dogs trained to scout for threats before their human counterparts enter the field.

The four-legged, headless, mechanical creatures were made to exit an aircraft and look for signs of danger at the Nellis Air Force Base in the US state of Nevada last week.

They are part of an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) that the US Air force is building, which will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to detect counter threats to the US military.

“Valuing data as an essential war fighting resource, one no less vital than jet fuel or satellites, is the key to next-gen warfare,” Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, told CNN.

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US Air Force lets the dogs out

The dogs have been manufactured by Ghost Robotics, a company based in Philadelphia, and are called Vision 60 UGVs, or “autonomous unmanned ground vehicles”.

According to their website, “A core design principle for our legged robots is reduced mechanical complexity when compared to any other legged robots, and even traditional wheeled-tracked UGVs.”

The dogs can be controlled remotely and will provide visuals of the area before soldiers are deployed in the same field. They have been designed to scale heights and various surfaces and terrains.

“By reducing complexity, we inherently increase durability, agility and endurance,” the company’s website notes.

The dogs, as part of the ABMS, may be a vital component of what an Air Force release calls the “kill chain”.

‘Kill chain’ is a military term, which originated in the ‘Information Revolution’ of 1980s, and refers to the process of analysis, planning and execution of military operations.

“We are exploring how to use … ABMS to link sensors to shooters across all battlespaces, at speed and under threat. Maturing these concepts and capabilities is necessary to fight and win in the information age,” General John Raymond, chief of space operations, said in the release.

Also read: US military to launch project to fight fake news, disinformation


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