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Demonstration shows innovative capabilities of robotic dog

The purpose of the Q-UGV is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas.

Airmen from 75th Security Forces Squadron were given a demonstration of a Quad-legged Unmanned Ground Vehicle, also known as a robot dog, Aug. 24, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The purpose of the Q-UGV is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

The purpose of the Q-UGV is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas.

Col. Jenise Carroll, the 75th Air Base Wing commander, is shown a Quad-legged Unmanned Ground Vehicle by Ghost Robotics founder Jiren Parikh during a security forces demonstration Aug. 24, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The purpose of the Q-UGV, also known as a robot dog, is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

The purpose of the Q-UGV is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas.

Military working dog Jimo and handler Senior Airman Alex MacMillan, 75th Security Forces, pose next to a Quad-legged Unmanned Ground Vehicle, also known as a robot dog, Aug. 24, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The purpose of the Q-UGV won't be to replace MWD's but to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

The purpose of the Q-UGV is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas.

Airman 1st Class Josh Suarez, 75th Security Forces Squadron, operates a Quad-legged Unmanned Ground Vehicle, also known as a robot dog, during a demonstration Aug. 24, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The purpose of the Q-UGV is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

The purpose of the Q-UGV is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas.

Airman 1st Class Josh Suarez, 75th Security Forces Squadron, operates a Quad-legged Unmanned Ground Vehicle, also known as a robot dog, during a demonstration Aug. 24, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The purpose of the Q-UGV is to add enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

The purpose of the Q-UGV is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas.

Ghost Robotics software engineer Nicholas Badyal (right) demonstrates the Quad-legged Unmanned Ground Vehicle's capabilities to 75th Security Forces Airmen Aug. 24, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The purpose of the Q-UGV, also known as a robot dog, is to enhance security to the base allowing defenders to patrol and monitor more critical areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

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.