AT&T touts robotic dogs ‘for public safety and national defense’

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AT&T plans to use robotic dogs for a range of use cases aimed at improving “public safety and national defense”.

The US telecoms giant is teaming up with Ghost Robotics on the endeavour that will enhance the FirstNet emergency responder service.

“Robotic dogs are just one way we are proving the innovation and transformational possibilities of 5G and IoT,” explained Lance Spencer, Client Executive VP – Defense at AT&T, in a blog post.

“Network-connected robotic dogs can deliver a broad range of IoT use cases, including many that have previously required putting personnel in dangerous situations.”

The robot dogs can be used in all weather and any terrain. In addition to climbing stairs and moving across rocks and debris, they can also swim:

AT&T envisions the robotic hounds being used for search and rescue, supporting hazmat efforts, inspecting explosive devices, and more.

One early deployment is at the Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The base uses AT&T’s robotic dogs to patrol the perimeter and feed video data in real-time to personnel.

Last year, the British Army began testing Ghost Robotics’ canine:

The dogs can be equipped with additional enhancements to support their operations. A drone can be attached to each dog’s back which can provide an aerial view of a situation and return to the dog when it requires charging.

“Another interesting use case involves equipping robotic dogs with Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs). LRADs are sound cannons that produce noise at high decibels and varying frequencies,” adds Spencer.

“We have discussed with the Navy the possibility of outfitting our robotic dogs with sound cannons to warn off wild boars and feral dog packs that have impeded operating crews working on telecommunications infrastructure located in remote areas of one of its bases.”

Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) operational command can be achieved using Geocast. Human operators can use Geocast to operate the dogs virtually anywhere in the world.

(Image Credit: AT&T)

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