‘Robot Dog Olympics’ showcases British Army use of quadrupeds

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The British Army has hosted a ‘Robot Dog Olympics’ to discover what capabilities quadruped robotic platforms could offer the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Almost 40 coders from across industry and defence assembled at MOD Abbey Wood in Bristol to take part in a unique event.

Teams worked with Spot robotic dogs, from American engineering firm Boston Dynamics, which are designed to autonomously perform non-offensive tasks to protect troops by searching and scanning or delivering medicine and food into hazardous or disaster areas.

Tasks coders were challenged to programme the dogs to do included a 50-metre sprint; a gymnastics routine and problem solving.

Coders programmed the dogs which are capable of carrying a range of scanning technology 

Natasha Dell, an algorithm engineer from electrical systems supplier Thales, said: “I have been really surprised by how agile and responsive the robotic dogs are.

“They are incredibly mobile and the speed at which they move is impressive as well as the tasks they can complete.”

The event was run by the Future Capabilities Group at Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) in conjunction with Team Defence Information, a body that helps develop innovative solutions for the front line.

Colonel Dan Anders-Brown, customer lead at DE&S, said: “The coders have confirmed what we already knew. These are highly capable systems and could significantly reduce risk to life of our soldiers by removing the requirement to carry out dangerous activity in the modern battlespace.”

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