SPUR rifle app adds sniper fire to robot dog’s bag of tricks

SPUR robot dog

Sit. Beg. Roll over. Shoot the hostile dead. Meet the Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle (SPUR) application, designed to be the robot dog quadruped’s best friend – so long as it wants a hand blasting a designated target away.

This is not a post for the faint of heart, easily freaked-out, or regular consumer of dystopian horror films. Because no matter how noble its intended uses in defending the lives of police, soldiers, and other white-hatted forces may be, the sight of a SPUR atop an approaching robot dog ­– its artificial intelligence and high-tech capabilities a-bristle –  will seriously test the bladder control of even the most science-trusting geek out there. Thank goodness the device has no automated mode – for now.

Still, there’s enough about this made-for-bang-bang innovation that will cause the ballistic-averse crowd to quiver a while. According to specs provided by its Sword Defense maker, SPUR can fire up to 10 rounds from up to three-quarters miles away, its precision enhanced by a 30X zoom optical sensor. The sniper rifle was specifically designed to be mounted on Ghost Robotics’ Vision-60 quadruped, but will presumably be adaptable and available to any trusted operator of creepy high-tech robot dogs.

Since most readers – whether NRA members or backers of gun control – are thinking the same things from opposite angles at this point, it’s probably best to let Sword Defense describe SPUR’s functionality, and allow readers to take what they will from that.

Featuring safe, chamber, clear, and fire capabilities that allows for safe and reliable deployment of the weapon system – providing the operator an ability to load and safe the weapon at a distance. These features also provide the operator the ability to clear malfunctions, and safely unload the platform prior to recovery.  Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor allows for precision fire out to 1200m, the SPUR can similarly utilize 7.62×51 NATO cartridge for ammunition availability. Due to its highly capable sensors the SPUR can operate in a multitude of conditions, both day and night. 

In what may be the proverbial bridge-too-far final sentence, the company then describes SPUR as – wait for it – “the future of unmanned weapon systems, and that future is now.” 

Hasta la vista, Fido.

Indeed, Sword Defense’s last phrase may well cause dystopia and sci-fi fans cramp-producing gluteus maximus flinches all day. Others, however, may cheer the innovation as an additional defensive asset providing forces protecting society with a safe, remote means of dissuading those endangering innocents, or eliminating hostiles bent on evil. 

Sword Defense introduced SPUR at the annual convention of the Association of the US Army last week, and has been creating frissons of various sorts in social media appearances since then. Like its more famous Boston Dynamic’s robot dog Spot, Ghost Robotics’ Vision-60 has been tested at US military bases, and performed well in a variety of surveillance, inspection, and sentry missions. Both ‘bot-pooches have a 31 lbs. maximum payload, and reach top speed of 5.24 feet per second. 

Vision-60 is operable in either remote control or autonomous modes, though the addition of a SPUR blaster will require human navigation and other command control. A comforting thought indeed – until a rifle-packing robot dog falls into the wrong kinds of human hands.

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