The Marine Corps are testing a four-legged Google robot, which can be used for replacing working dogs in the near term.

The robot, called Spot, is made by robotic company Boston Dynamics, which was acquired by Google in 2013. Spot includes an electric engine, which does not sound a lot in comparison to robots that are run by a gas engine. The robot does not even spew carbon dioxide into the air.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) brought the four-legged robot to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia for testing. DARPA has already tested a number of robots made by Boston Dynamics in the past, including a quadruped robot called the BigDog.

Roboticists believe that Spot can be very useful to the Marines in many situations.

"I think a robot like Spot has tons of opportunities we could use it for, like scouting or load carriage," says Ben Swilling, a DARPA roboticist who is testing Spot.

The Marine Corps are also testing autonomous vehicles as support infantry in the field. However, the four-legged robot from Boston Dynamics is quieter as well as lighter in comparison to any other robots tested by the Marines. Spot is also said to handle some terrain that other robots including BigDog and autonomous vehicles cannot.

Spot weighs only 160 pounds and can be controlled wirelessly via a controller, which is connected to a laptop. The Marines have put Spot through a number of situations and terrains such as maneuvering through hills, urban environments and woods.

Spot can be controlled wirelessly by an operator, who does not need to be in the line of sight, at a maximum distance of 500 meters or about 1,640 feet.

Marines have used working dogs to scout a region such as a building during an urban combat drill. Spot can easily take the role of these working dogs in combat drills and provide vital information to operators and reduce threats.

The Marines, who are testing Spot, believe that the robot has great potential as it brings new technology and ideas in combat situations. The agency wants to continue testing Spot for finding new ways in which the robot can be used to enhance the fighting capabilities of the Marine Corps.

Check out a short video of Spot in action.

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