Yes, it’s our old friend Spot the robot dog! The British Ministry of Defense got 40 coders from the UK together to participate in the Robot Dog Olympics — and by the way to identify ways that the robotic dogs can help the British Army.
The robot dogs don’t carry weapons or participate in battles, but they do fetch and carry for the soldiers. They can search and scan areas, carry food and medicine, and do other tasks that can be dangerous on a battlefield.
But the Robot Dog Olympics was more fun than those basic tasks. Teams of coders programmed the dogs to do specific tasks like a gymnastics routine, a 50-meter sprint, and drawing the Olympic Rings to show off their dexterity.
The project was fun, according to the coders, but it had a serious purpose. The idea was the explore the limits of the robodogs. The British Army confirmed that “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.”
Automation, and particularly robots, will always be about replacing humans in work that is dirty, dull, and dangerous. The Robot Dog Olympics was a means of exploring more ways to do just that in the military context.
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