The Ghost Robotics Vision 60 semi-autonomous robot dog has demonstrated its capabilities to airmen at the US Air Force’s (USAF) Scott Air Force Base (AFB) in Illinois.

The demonstration is part of the robot’s one-year pilot testing programme.

The evaluation is being led by Air Combat Command’s Agile Battle Laboratory, which identifies, validates and inserts new concepts and technology to support Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept.

According to USAF, the autonomous quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicle (Q-UGV) is equipped with improved sensors. It is designed to operate in all kinds of terrains.

AMC liaison ACC Detachment 3 Agile Battle Lab senior master sergeant Marcos Garcia said: “By no means is this meant to replace a real K-9. It is simply a force multiplier and can even maybe save some K-9 lives. The experts in the field envision it supplementing a bomb team or leading a foot patrol.”

The Q-UGV can capture a high-definition (HD) video stream and thermal imaging. It also comes with an infrared (IR) configuration.

375th Security Forces Squadron operations non-commissioned officer master sergeant Justin Hanlon said: “The major selling point of this technology is that it’s meant to be expendable, whereas our airmen are not.

“We can replace parts on the ghost robot and get it back out to the mission, but the same cannot be said of a human being. The bottom line is this cements our commitment to mitigating risk to our airmen and protecting them from unnecessary danger.”

The robot also uses legs that can attain a current speed of seven feet per second (ft/s).

Hanlon added: “The ghost robot has potential to aid the enterprise in getting away from the past where we had airmen walk wingtip to wingtip on flying assets.”