Manufactured by the start-up Ghost Robotics, the military equivalent of the famous Spot robot-dog will soon accompany French soldiers in the field. Initially, however, this technology will be tested.
A craze around military robot dogs
In 2021, we were talking about a robot-dog equipped with a sniper on its back, a source of concern for some experts. It was the Vision 60 (V60), a machine designed by Ghost Robotics, a company whose work bears some resemblance to that of Boston Dynamics. The difference is however enormous, since the second has undertaken never to arm its robots. In February 2022, Ghost Robotics returned to center stage. This time, it was about a collaboration with the Homeland Security of the United States within the framework of robot dog patrols policemen on the border with Mexico.
From now on, the French army also seems to be interested in the V60, as explained in an article published by L’Express on June 14, 2022. The daily interviewed Fabien Lastreto, head of the perimeter protection department for the company Scopex. However, the latter markets a version of the robot-dog embedding anti-intrusion software.
Why is the French army interested in it?
It turns out that unlike Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot, the V60 has one outstanding advantage: its autonomy. Indeed, the latter has a battery allowing it to last 3h30 instead of 1h30. And if the French army is interested in this concentrate of technology, it is not the result of chance. Indeed, Ghost Robotics claims to have already delivered no less than 200 units from V60 to several countries. In the United States at Tyndall Air Force Base (Florida), the machines patrol in pairs. Officials seem content with their role in site monitoring and anomaly detection. The V60 fulfills its purposes autonomously thanks to a artificial intelligence coupled with sensors.
According to Fabien Lastreto, the V60 is agile, also able to climb stairs. In addition, it will be equipped with an arm on the back next year. It is obvious that this type of equipment can replace the human within the framework of unrewarding tasks. Indeed, who really wants to go around in circles or observe the horizon for hours on end?
Furthermore, the V60 can act as a scout and thus precede the human soldiers directly on the battlefield. The French army has already deployed four of these machines in Mali, in their “mule” version capable of transporting equipment in order to assess the logistical constraints. The army has also carried out tests for fictitious demining operations and intends to draw conclusions on the viability of this equipment.