HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
The 75th Security Forces Squadron at Hill invited Ghost Robotics to the base Aug. 25 to demonstrate the capabilities of its semi-autonomous robotic dog and prove its worth as an enhancement to base security.
The purpose of having a robotic dog, or what’s officially known as a Quad-legged Unmanned Ground Vehicles, is to add an extra level of protection to the base.
“We feel a robot dog will significantly increase base security in a number of ways,” said Master Sgt. John Twomey, security forces logistics and readiness superintendent. “There are areas at Hill where rugged terrain and harsh weather make it difficult for our Airmen to patrol. These dogs can get through any type of terrain and get to remote areas that we have trouble getting out to.”
Twomey said the robot dogs have many other capabilities beyond perimeter sweeps, and he wanted Hill’s leadership to see it first-hand and that is why he invited Ghost Robotics to the base to present a demonstration.
“This demonstration was a no brainer for us and a step in the right direction," said Maj. Paul Dinkins, 75th Security Forces Squadron commander. "Initiatives like this show that squadrons are trying to accelerate change and bring modern solutions to complex problems as outlined in the National Defense Strategy. We are optimistic that we can continue the work others have started and help fill a void with unorthodox solutions.”
Features applied to the robot dogs allow for easy navigation on difficult terrains. They are equipped with a crouch mode that lowers their center-of-gravity and a high-step mode that alters leg mobility, among other features.
The robot dogs can operate in minus 40-degree to 131-degree conditions and have 14 sensors to create 360-degree awareness. They are also integrated with command and control software, with semi-autonomous and user-operated modes. They are equipped with advanced multi-directional, thermal, and infrared video capabilities, allowing for artificial intelligence-based threat detection. A robotic dog would cost approximately $130,000.
“This technology has the capability to revolutionize the way base security operates,” Twomey said
Several bases throughout the Air Force are already using or testing robotic dogs, including Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, and Tyndall AFB, Florida.