TYNDALL AFB, Fla. (WMBB) — As the work to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base as the “base of the future” continues, the 325th Security Forces Squadron is getting some new guard dogs fit for that name.
They’re fully robotic; Tyndall AFB officials held a demonstration for the “robo-dogs” on Tuesday, as the base will be the first military installation in the country to use them for enhanced security and patrolling operations.
“This is a springboard into the future of integrated defense,” said Squadron Commander, Maj. Jordan Criss. “This is only the first step and what we’re very excited to do is be that test and evaluations site which proliferates the rest of this technology for the rest of the Air Force.”
The four-legged drones are created by Ghost Robotics out of Pennsylvania. They’ve been in development for over a decade.
“We had a concept to create kind-of a warfighter protection system, so really a replacement for a live dog,” said Jiren Parikh, CEO of Ghost Robotics. “The idea is to keep humans, dogs and even heavy assets out of harm’s way.”
Tyndall AFB will be getting four robots to use as sentries around the base. Each one costs around $100 thousand; they’re weatherproof, unmanned ground drones with two way communication and high-tech sensors. They can be operated remotely or on their own and travel about seven miles on a single charge.
“They’re not there to hurt anybody, they are there to be an extra set of eyes and ears for our defenders,” Maj. Criss said. “They can do in-depth terrain analysis and enhance the situational awareness for our defenders.”
While they can’t bite, Parikh said it’s not a good idea to mess with them.
“If somebody is trying to steal the robot, it will actually flail,” he said. “If you get kicked by one of these, it’s going to hurt.”
Maj. Criss said they’re excited to start using the four-legged drones and testing them for future use in the military.
“We’re super appreciative of being the test-bed and being able to step-through working with this technology,” he said. “These robots can again do things that the human brain and the human person can’t do which allows the human being to enhance their response and their capabilities.”
The robo-dogs will be deployed on base in February, 2021.