Boston Dynamics Spot: Practically as in the chapter ‘Metalhead’ of Black Mirror season 4, imagine that you are tomorrow walking in the park with someone, or you meet a friend, and a 4-legged robot comes to tell you that you are not respecting the minimum distance of security between people.
Boston Dynamics SPOT
This actually happened last year on a 3 km stretch in the river plains section of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, and several Spot units patrolled the area issuing a recorded message to remind park visitors to observe the measurements of safe distancing.
SPOT, one of the ‘creatures’ of the robotic company Boston Dynamics, is designed and animated as if it were a dog, surprising for the fluidity of its movements and its ‘smart’ capabilities such as the analysis of environments. It has built-in algorithms to detect an object or person within 1 meter of its proximity to avoid collision.
SPOT also comes equipped with video analytics-enabled cameras developed by GovTech. Its price? ‘Cheap’, about 75,000 euros each unit. An amount that the French army has invested.
Robot dogs in the army
Spot has appeared with the soldiers during military exercises conducted by the French army. The robot was reportedly used for reconnaissance during a two-day training exercise, but the deployment raises questions about how and where the Boston Dynamics machines will be used in the future.
France’s main military school, the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, shared images of the exercises on Twitter. He described the tests as a “student awareness of the challenges of tomorrow”, including “robotization of the battlefield.” According to the French newspaper Ouest-France, the new soldiers carried out a series of training scenarios, including an offensive action to capture a crossing, defensive actions during night and day, and a test of urban combat.