Home The United States Marines have robot dogs — equipped with firepower

The United States Marines have robot dogs — equipped with firepower

The United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is currently assessing robot dogs fitted with artificial intelligence-targeting guns.

The “robodogs” are developed by Ghost Robotics, with a view to a potential future deployment on the battlefield, equipped with advanced gun systems from defense tech specialists Onyx Industries. It has entered into a partnership with AimLock to concentrate on the inclusion of remote lethal tools into autonomous systems in the air, on the ground, and at sea.

MARSOC is using Ghost Robotics machines known as quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicles (Q-UGVs for short) for different purposes, including espionage and surveillance, but when it comes to direct combat more attention is garnered.

On the Q-UGV, an imaging system informs the human operator of any potential threats thanks to an AI-powered defense which can detect and monitor humans as well as vehicles or drones. A safeguard is built into the robodogs as although it can detect and trace, it is not able to fire. Human oversight is required to authorize and action fire with a human-in-the-loop (HITL) process.

Onyx Industries shared a video of a similar system in action, on LinkedIn.

How will robot dogs impact the future of warfare?

We already know that AI is being used in modern conflicts, from the Israel-Hamas situation to the war between Russia and Ukraine. Last month, the US Air Force also announced a significant breakthrough in achieving its first artificial intelligence dogfight.

Through time, there will be more involvement for robots and this could include the deployment of ‘robodogs’ due to the advanced tech they possess. Q-UGVs can also carry out missions deemed too dangerous for human exposure, especially when risk needs to be minimized.

The technology is still an at early stage overall, despite its sophisticated capability. Later versions of the Q-UGVs will be much better equipped and trained for specific purposes. There will also be ongoing ethical and safety concerns to be allayed, such as accountability for serious incidents and the levels of autonomy afforded to AI.

Another robot dog in existence is this flame-throwing version, which you can own for a mere $10,000.

The Thermonator, as it is aptly named, is now available for purchase for $9,420, and looks like it could belong in a Robocop movie. Unsurprisingly, the device comes with a few warnings.

Image credit: Ideogram

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Graeme Hanna
Tech Journalist

Graeme Hanna is a full-time, freelance writer with significant experience in online news as well as content writing. Since January 2021, he has contributed as a football and news writer for several mainstream UK titles including The Glasgow Times, Rangers Review, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon, Give Me Sport, and the Belfast News Letter. Graeme has worked across several briefs including news and feature writing in addition to other significant work experience in professional services. Now a contributing news writer at ReadWrite.com, he is involved with pitching relevant content for publication as well as writing engaging tech news stories.

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