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Boston Dynamics robots trained with the French army

The Saint-Cyr special military school trained alongside several robots, including Spot, the dog from Boston Dynamics.

Credits ESM Saint Cyr Coetquidan

Will the armed conflicts of tomorrow see robots clash? After the American army, it is the turn of the French army to train alongside the autonomous machines of Boston Dynamics. A somewhat particular exercise carried out on March 30 and 31 by the Saint-Cyr special military school (ESM) in Yvelines. In a tweet shared by the establishment, we were indeed able to discover the military apprentices in several combat scenarios, in which various robotic machines were involved, and in particular Spot, the Boston Dynamics dog. Objective, explains Commander Jean-Baptiste Cavalier: measure the added value of robots during a confrontation. Thus, each exercise was carried out twice by the students, who first had to evolve on their own, then get help from the robots.

If Spot, the quadruped robot of Boston Dynamics is not meant to be militarized, recently assured its creators, the American dog had the merit of ensuring the rear of military students during many of their exercises. The latter, in addition to benefiting from an unparalleled balance, was indeed able to open doors. A major asset for urban clashes, since the robot is also equipped with GoPro cameras attached to its back for the occasion, which allows it to send images to the human troops left behind.

Some points to review

Interviewed by Ouest France via the Defense Lines blog, several students who participated in the exercises spoke of the advantages of robotic assistance during combat. However, machines are not yet ready to replace humans in the field: despite their slowness, some also suffer from limited autonomy. This is particularly the case with Spot, who died in the midst of a land assault.

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