The border between Mexico and the United States of America is a rugged and rugged territory characterized by extreme temperatures and very complex operating conditions. For this reason, the agents of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) , who patrol the 3,169 km of the border on horseback but also with airplanes, off-road vehicles and quads, will be flanked, to combat illegal immigration, by special robot dogs made by Ghost Robotics.
IT DOES NOT WAG ITS TAIL
Ghost Vision , this is the name of the mechanical quadruped, resembles Spot, the robot dog of the more famous Boston Dynamics. Ghost is 76 centimeters tall, weighs 32 kg and its battery allows it to walk for about 3 hours to cover a distance of 10 km. It is equipped with a navigation system that allows it to follow a pre-set route in total autonomy, but it can also be guided remotely by a human operator thanks to the cameras it carries on its back.
The robot can be equipped with the most diverse electronic devices: high resolution cameras capable of transmitting images in real time to a control center, thermal imaging cameras capable of detecting heat sources, for example hidden people, and night vision systems.
Ghost is not afraid of rough terrain: thanks to the sensors he is equipped with, he can go up and down the stairs and move with agility even between paths and stony ground. He will be employed to patrol the most inhospitable areas of the Mexican-US border, but also to inspect the underside of trains and trucks crossing the border, looking for illegal immigrants.
The use of the robot was announced a few days ago by the Department of Internal Security from the pages of its institutional website and criticisms immediately rained down from various quarters.
Many American and Mexican politicians, but also representatives of humanitarian organizations, have harshly criticized the choice of using a machine for such a delicate task. It is worth remembering how in recent years the border between the two countries has often been the scene of questionable behavior on the part of border authorities.
CAN HE SHOOT?
Some doubts have also been raised by the DHS agents themselves, especially on the actual ability of the robot to offer tangible support in daily work. The soldiers of the French army, who tried to use Spot, the “twin” made by Boston Dynamics in the field, complained of its low autonomy and its poor overall performance.
The US Department of Homeland Security is keen to clarify that Ghost will not be equipped with firearms or other offensive tools. But a prototype Ghost, armed to the teeth with a Sword International machine gun has already been presented to the US military in April last year.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.