One day, a robot that is modeled on man’s best friend could patrol the U.S. border. “Don’t be surprised to see robot Fido out in the field walking side-by-side with [Custom Border Patrol] personnel,” said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a blog posting this week.
Brenda Long, S&T program manger, stated in the post that “the southern border can prove inhospitable for man and beast, which is precisely why a machine might excel there.” Ghost Robotics, the developer of Automated Ground Suveillance Vehicles (AGSVs), has been a partner for more than two years. They have developed a robot that can navigate stairs, steps, steep hills, and bumpy terrain.
The robots were trained in Lorton, Virginia as part of Homeland Security’s trial. They were equipped with sensors, cameras and radios that allowed them to send images back to their human operators. It was also evaluated how well the machines could move on grass, asphalt, and hills.
The battery-powered robots were then transported to El Paso Texas where they were put through more realistic scenarios including sentry duty in the desert.
Ghost Robotics, a competitor to Google-owned Boston Dynamics is now in the news. The company, which was first seen on social media showing a robotic dog opening doors, created quite a stir with a video and since then has developed a robot called Big Dog, with the military in mind.
It is not a new idea to use robots to patrol. A remote-controlled robot arm that can be controlled remotely by an Israeli defense contractor was unveiled in September by the Israeli Defense Contractor. It is capable of patrolling battle zones and opening fire.