The NCI Agency's Exploiting Data Science and AI team, in collaboration with the NATO Cyber Security Centre, industry and academia, will programme Spot to execute different tasks independently. The robot is currently controlled from afar using an intuitive tablet application, but the main aim is to make Spot less dependent on the operator and capable of performing repeatable actions autonomously.
The team is also exploring how Spot can communicate with other devices. Spot's "paws on the ground" can be connected to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone. The UAV's "eyes in the sky" and extended radio communications gives Spot greater awareness of the terrain ahead, allowing it to make better decisions about the intended target and route. UAVs also increase the communication range. Together, these technologies would be able to give decision-makers a comprehensive and accurate view of an environment.
"In rapidly-changing scenarios, such as natural disasters, it is essential to improve the information provided to our commanders. In the future, Spot could give unparalleled access and information in these situations, allowing NATO personnel to protect citizens across the Alliance more effectively," said LTC Fabio Marziani, Project Manager, Exploiting Data Science and AI at the NCI Agency.
Spot the robot is one of the many innovations explored by the NCI Agency to help maintain NATO's technological edge. During 2022, Agency scientists are conducting practical tests to explore hypothetical scenarios with Spot. They are collaborating with other NATO entities and with Nations through the STO IST-176 initiative.