The United States Air Force (USAF) is bringing “man’s best friend” into the 21st Century. Tyndall Air Force Base will be one of the first military bases to implement semi-autonomous robot dogs into their patrolling regiment.

In a Nov. 10 press release, the USAF explained that the computerized canines will aid in reconnaissance and enhanced security patrolling operations across the base.

“These dogs will be an extra set of eyes and ears while computing large amounts of data at strategic locations throughout Tyndall Air Force Base,” said Maj. Jordan Criss, 325th Security Forces Squadron commander. “They will be a huge enhancement for our defenders and allow flexibility in the posting and response of our personnel.”

USAF also noted that the canine robots are not intended to replace their furry counterparts. Instead, the robots will take on jobs that will allow military dogs to focus on tasks that require a physical presence.

“These robot dogs will be used as a force multiplier for enhanced situational awareness by patrolling areas that aren’t desirable for human beings and vehicles,” said Criss.

In terms of how the robots will work, Criss explained that the USAF will “be able to drive them via a virtual reality headset within our Base Defense Operations Center.” He continued, “we will be able to see exactly what the robot dog is detecting through its mobile camera and sensor platform if desired. We will also be able to issue verbal commands to a person or people through a radio attached to the dogs.”

USAF said that this new technology has the potential to replace and exceed the capabilities of certain static defense equipment especially in a contingency, disaster, or deployed environment.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.