The French military used the Spot robot for a training operation. The device slowed down the hostilities but was effective as a scout.
The four-legged Boston Dynamics robot was spotted while training the French army at a military school in northwestern France. This was reported by The Verge and France Ouest. It was used during a two-day training session to “assess the added value of robots in combat.”
The exercise was aimed at changing the plan of action in case of interaction between the military and robots in future combat situations. They conducted three offensive and defensive missions, with Spot being used primarily for reconnaissance. The robots were controlled remotely, the OPTIO-X20 autonomous tank with a cannon also participated in the exercise, and the Barakuda, an armored wheeled unmanned aerial vehicle designed to shelter advancing soldiers.
The military concluded that the robots slowed down the operation, but kept the troops safe: one soldier reported that he “died” in the first exercise without a Spot, but survived the second thanks to the robot’s reconnaissance. However, the robot’s battery was not enough for the entire exercise.
The robots were loaned to the army by European distributor Shark Robotics and the Nexter Group. However, Boston Dynamics was unaware of the operation.
Boston Robotics has not expressed its position on the use of robots during military operations. However, the devices of the rival company Ghost Robotics have already been used on patrolling the objects of the US Air Force.