Coders take part in Robot Dog Olympics to help develop tech solutions for Army

17 May 2022, 21:14

Coders race to take part in Robot Dog Olympics
Coders race to take part in Robot Dog Olympics. Picture: PA

Coders were challenged to programme the dogs to perform tasks including a 50-metre sprint, a gymnastics routine and problem solving.

Teams of coders have taken part in a Robot Dog Olympics as part of a scheme to develop innovative tech solutions for the British Army.

Almost 40 coders assembled at Ministry of Defence (MoD) Abbey Wood in Bristol to take part in the unique event.

robotic dog
Teams of expert coders used their skills to discover what capabilities state-of-the-art robotic dogs could offer the British Army (MoD/PA)

Coders were challenged to programme the robotic dogs to perform tasks including a 50-metre sprint, a gymnastics routine and problem solving.

Natasha Dell, an algorithm engineer from Thales, said: “I have been really surprised by how agile and responsive the robotic dogs are.

“They are incredibly mobile and the speed at which they move is impressive as well as the tasks they can complete.”

Teams worked with SPOT robotic dogs which are designed to autonomously perform non-offensive tasks to protect troops by searching and scanning or delivering medicine and food into disaster areas.

robotic dog
Tasks that coders were challenged to programme the dogs to do included a 50-metre sprint (MoD/PA)

Colonel Dan Anders-Brown said: “The coders have confirmed what we already knew.

“These are highly capable systems and could significantly reduce risk to life of our soldiers by removing the requirement to carry out dangerous activity in the modern battlespace.”

The event was run by the Future Capabilities Group (FCG) at Defence Equipment and Support, the procurement arm of the MoD.

It also ran in conjunction with Team Defence Information, a body that helps develop innovative solutions for the front line.

Suzy Harris, head of expeditionary robotics for the FCG, said: “Robotics and autonomous systems are becoming increasingly important in allowing soldiers to operate faster, for longer and enabling them to step back from some of the most challenging and dangerous tasks.”

SPOT is manufactured by Boston Dynamics, which has a well-publicised ethics policy on the use of its systems in any offensive manner.

By Press Association

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