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AI-Powered Robot Dogs Tested to Find Explosive Devices

In a three-day event 40 programmers “fine-tuned” AI programs to get robot dogs ready for bomb disposal tasks

Scarlett Evans

November 24, 2023

2 Min Read
AI-enabled robotic dogs complete bomb disposal tasks
Ministry of Defence

The U.K. government recently hosted a hackathon to test the use of AI-enabled robot dogs for bomb disposal tasks, reporting promising results.

Organized by the Defence AI Center (DAIC), the hackathon saw 40 programmers leveraging AI and robotics to complete several hazardous tasks that would otherwise be undertaken by Army bomb disposal experts.

Throughout the three-day event, the programmers were tasked with leveraging the robots’ existing capabilities such as navigating rough terrain, climbing stairs and avoiding obstacles, for use in life-threatening scenarios.

Working in five teams, over the first two days the programmers “developed their strategies and fine-tuned their programming,” according to a press release.

On the final day, the results of the teams’ testing was demonstrated to members of 29 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) & Search Group, which is made up of explosives experts in the U.K. 

Results of the hackathon were seemingly successful, with EOD member Chris Coles saying he “witnessed a number of things … that will absolutely facilitate research and development in the EOD&S space.”

“It has been hugely exciting to see defence, industry and academia work together on an AI and robotics solution to a real use case, particularly one that aims to increase the safety of our people,” said Rachel Singleton, DAIC’s head. “Instigating and guiding this kind of collaborative innovation safely and responsibly is among the most important work we do at the DAIC.”

Related:Boston Dynamics Robot Dog Begins Artist Residency

In 2021, the U.K. government selected robotics and smart machines as one of its seven strategic technologies to invest in as part of its Innovation Strategy. Under the strategy, the government said it would invest $27.5 billion each year in publicly funded research and development. 

The DAIC was established in 2021 to accelerate the use of AI for defense purposes.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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