Last year a specially designed rifle was attached to him, this year he was taught to swim and, it seems, to read the simplest mental commands of the operator.
Technology that could allow soldiers to control robotic dogs solely with their brains was recently tested in Australia. This country has purchased several copies of the Vision-60. The experiment took place at the Majura test site near Canberra.
Work on the study of brain-computer interfaces and their tactical applications began in December 2020 with the participation of researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the Army Robotics and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO). During the work, several breakthroughs were made in the field of brain-computer interfaces, a way was found to minimize extraneous noise that occurs when the operator's attention is distracted and the body moves. The number of possible teams was brought up to nine.
A graphene biosensor was put on the back of the operator's head, which captures biocurrents emanating from his brain. He must focus his attention on the white squares flickering on the monitor screen, each of which corresponds to a certain place on the training ground where the dog was supposed to arrive, or to some kind of action. The decoder in the computer decoded the signal received from the visual cortex of the operator's brain and transmitted the appropriate command to the robot dog.
Sergeant Damian Robinson of the 5th Combat Support Battalion had to go through eight two-hour sessions to learn how to focus his attention and give clear signals. “To control the robot, you don’t need to think about anything in particular, but you need to focus on that flicker,” he said.
This way of controlling drones seems to have a purely scientific value so far. After all, it is easier and more reliable to control from a conventional remote control. So far, the only benefit of the new technology is that the operator's hands are freed. But will he be able to use them while his attention is focused on the flickering squares on the monitor?
The Australian Department of Defense considered the tests promising and allocated A$1.2 million to continue research at UTS.
And Onyx Industries came up with a “tail” for a robot dog, which they called the Nautical Autonomous Unmanned Tail (Nautical Autonomous Unmanned Tail, NAUT). It's essentially a water cannon, hinged to the back of the robot. When the dog enters deep water, the water cannon descends and creates a jet stream. As a result, the robot can swim at a maximum speed of 5.6 kilometers per hour. In doing so, the drone draws its legs to take on a more streamlined shape. The "dog" can swim for 30 minutes - that's enough charge of a separate battery.
The water jet engine module weighs 900 grams. It can be powered by the robot's onboard battery, or it can have its own power source that weighs 1.4 kilograms.
The standard weight of the dog without additional accessories in the form of a rifle with ammunition and a “tail” is 51 kilograms. The dog can move on land for three hours without recharging the battery, overcome difficult terrain and reach a maximum speed on flat areas of over 11 kilometers per hour.
Thanks to the “tail”, the robot dog Vision-60 has expanded the range of its application. Now it can be used not only on land, but also sent for reconnaissance to the opposite bank of a river or reservoir before trying to force an obstacle. Vision 60 is able not only to detect the enemy, but also to search for fords or warn about minefields. Not a problem for him to carry up to ten kilograms of cargo. Now swim.