Dogs are already man’s best friend, but with the right kit, they can become his best battle buddy. At the Singapore Airshow this week, defense contractor Honeywell unveiled a kit that turns combat-trained dogs into camera-equipped scouts for war or disaster relief.
Spotted by Defense News, the device is called K9 C2SA, which is the kind of name only a defense buyer could love. K9 is an obvious stand-in for dog, while C2 is “command and control” and SA stands for “situational awareness.” It’s a long and awkward way to say “dog that responds to orders and can record video.” (Honeywell appears to have applied for a trademark on the name in 2014, but didn’t get it.)
According to Defense News, Honeywell officials:
Weighing under 4 pounds, the kit works from a distance of over 800 feet where signals can travel easily, like fields or forests, and just over 140 feet in dense signal-obstructing areas, like cities. There are buzzers in four directions on the harness of the system, so dogs could be trained to respond to silent commands given remotely, letting the canine investigate danger ahead. With cameras, they can relay information back to the humans, who are at a safer distance.
Dogs can travel where people can’t, more easily navigating underbrush or small openings in fences or defenses, so it’s no surprise that Honeywell isn’t even the first defense contractor to come up with a remote control toolkit for canines. Last year, Visual Engineering showed off their “Cerberus” harness and kit for dogs, which sadly did not include a set of extra heads. Until actual robot dogs are quiet enough for battle, expect to see a lot more high-tech hounds.