AT&T Debuts Network-Connected Robotic Dogs for Public & Private Sectors

3 mins read

AT&T has widened its collection of technology offerings with the addition of network-connected robotic dogs built for use in public safety and defense initiatives.

Developed in collaboration with Ghost Robotics, the dogs are built to be utilized by federal and state agencies, local police and fire departments and private sector clients, Lance Spencer, client executive vice president for defense at AT&T, wrote in a blog post published Tuesday.

With their capacity for network connection, these robotic dogs are able to apply 5G and Internet of Things benefits to a variety of scenarios, a number of which have required putting personnel in risky situations, including search and rescue in dangerous environments.

The dogs are able to access FirstNet, the sole U.S. network for first responders, allowing them to leverage its always-on prioritized network connectivity to enable communications throughout disaster response and recovery, facilities surveillance and security operations.

They can also be used to help execute hazmat initiatives, inspect mines and high-voltage equipment and detect explosive devices, such as improvised explosive devices.

Built to traverse difficult terrains, the robotic dogs can withstand environments that contain sand, rocks, hills, rubble, man-made obstacles such as stairs and bodies of water. They support the use of drones that can launch and return to the dogs’ backs even while they are in motion.

Using AT&T’s Geocast technology, operators have the ability to locate and control the dogs from any location. They are also compatible with sensors that enable autonomous operation.

The U.S. military has already begun adopting these robotic dogs. Currently, dogs equipped with cameras that provide real-time video are being used by the Air Force to patrol the flight line and base perimeter at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. 

Spencer wrote that AT&T has spoken with the Navy about using robotic dogs with sound cannons installed to ward off dangerous animals that may disrupt crews maintaining telecommunications infrastructure in remote areas of a base.

Long Range Acoustic Devices, which produce noise at high decibels and various frequencies, have already been successfully incorporated with the dogs.

Within the commercial sector, the robotic dogs have been used for facility inspections and to deliver network connectivity into areas beyond its normal reach or mechanical arms.

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