Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot was thrown into an army field test — but it ran out of battery mid-combat

Boston Dynamics Spot Singapore

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The French military are testing Boston Dynamics’ famous robot dog Spot in combat scenarios.

French newspaper Ouest-France reported Wednesday that students at France’s Saint-Cyr military school tested five robots on Tuesday and Wednesday to assess their suitability for combat. Boston Dynamics’ Spot was among the robots.

Students tested the robots in three scenarios — an offensive maneuver at a crossroads, a defensive one during both the day and the night, and finally an urban-combat scenario. The students ran each exercise twice, once without the robots, and once with them.

21. Je déploie le robot pour reconnaitre OSCAR3.
Retour en images sur l’exercice de recherche appliquée organisé les 30 et 31 mars par l’EMIA et le centre de recherche. Robotisation du champ de bataille : sensibiliser les élèves aux enjeux de demain. #CapaciTERRE #Robots

— Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan (@SaintCyrCoet) April 6, 2021

One of the students who participated in the exercises said the robots offered some benefits in reconnaissance. “I was killed during the urban combat exercise without robots, but not the time when the robot had done reconnaissance,” he said.

But Spot was not without its drawbacks, the same student added. “Spot ran out of battery in the middle of combat,” he said. 

Spot was provided to the French military via a French company called Shark Robotics. Boston Dynamics’ vice president of business development Michael Perry told the Verge the company was unaware of Spot’s sale to the French military.

“We’re learning about it as you are […] We’re not clear on the exact scope of this engagement,” Perry told the Verge.

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Perry also said the company had strict rules forbidding customers from weaponizing Spot, but that this wouldn’t stop the military using it. “We think that the military, to the extent that they do use robotics to take people out of harm’s way, we think that’s a perfectly valid use of the technology,” he said.

Boston Dynamics started selling Spot to European customers in November 2020, four months after it went on sale in the US. Spot has been used in construction, healthcare, hospitality, and agriculture.

The New York Police Department also has a Spot robot, which it first deployed in October last year.

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Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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