Boston Dynamics' Spot robo-dog being tested by Marines

DARPA and Boston Dynamics' robotic dog Spot, which we talked about back in February, is now being tested by the Marine Corps for possible use in warfare situations. DARPA trained Marines located at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico on how to operate Spot, which weighs 160 lbs. Among other things, Spot is being tested as a way to search for enemies ahead of Marines entering a building.

Spot is being tested by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in Virginia. Over the past week or so, the robotic dog was tested for use in different terrains, including urban environments, hilly landscapes, and woodlands. The robo-dog was used as part of an urban terrain drill, among other things.

According to the lab's branch head Capt. James Pineiro said, "The Marines have been very receptive to the new technology, embrace it and come up with new ideas we couldn't even dream up." Other similar robots also exist, including the pre-Spot creation "BigDog".

The robotic dog can be controlled by a laptop-equipped operator positioned up to 500 meters away. Operation is said to be very simple. This effort could influence further robotic developments and implementation in relation to military usage. In addition to helping spot enemies, Spot the dog could also be used as a pack mule of sorts.