The Cape Canaveral Space Force Station may soon be under the watchful electronic eyes of the dystopian version of man’s best friend. The U.S. Space Force recently conducted a demonstration using robot dogs to patrol Cape Canaveral in the hopes of automating certain security tasks at the space station.
The demonstration took place on July 27, with the Space Force later releasing a few images showing its personnel operating the two robot dogs on site. Officially referred to as Ghost Robotics Quadruped Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Q-UGV), the robots are intended for “manual and repetitive tasks,” as well as “damage assessments and patrol to save significant man hours,” according to the Space Force.
They may not be fluffy or require lots of belly rubs, but these dog-like robots are meant to replicate the qualities of military canines in a much more terrifying form. The menacing creatures have been tested out by authorities before, but it hasn’t always gone well. In April 2021, the New York Police Department had to put down its robot dog following a public backlash. People expressed worry over the robotic animals again in July when a video was shared on Twitter showing one of the robot dogs with a submachine gun mounted on its head.
The robot dogs used by the Space Force were built by Philadelphia-based company Ghost Robotics. “They’re unstoppable, with the ability to get right back up from any slip, fall, or failure and keep moving using our proprietary blind-mode operations,” the company wrote on its website. The robot dogs have visual and auditory sensors and can be commanded by a human controller or run autonomously on their own.
The Air Force, which oversees the U.S. Space Force, has been using the robodogs at its bases for nearly two years. “These robot dogs will be used as a force multiplier for enhanced situational awareness by patrolling areas that aren’t desirable for human beings and vehicles,” Jordan Criss, 325th Security Forces Squadron commander, said in a press release in November 2020.
Cape Canaveral hosts a number of rocket launches, which suggests the robotic animals will be used to respond to emergencies or participate in safety protocols, which doesn’t seem as terrifying as having the robodogs assist in arrests or public security patrols. Hopefully, they won’t cause too much trouble at the space station.