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NEWS | April 15, 2022

Portland Air National Guard Base puts robot dog to work

By Airman 1st Class Yuki Klein, 142nd Wing

PORTLAND, Ore. - In December 2021, the Portland Air National Guard Base became the first Air National Guard base to house the innovative technology known as the Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicle (QUGV), better known as a robot dog.

Tech. Sgt. Jamie Cuniff, 142nd Security Forces Squadron logistics and resources noncommissioned officer, has been working with the four-legged droid since it arrived.

“We’re kind of spearheading this whole side of security, this autonomous defender, as they say, which makes me feel really good and proud to be in the unit,” Cuniff said.

Cuniff was a key advocate for adopting the robot dog and the leading force to prepare it for its security mission.

“From a security standpoint, it’s going to benefit us in the way that it provides some real-time video feedback and also acts as a deterrent,” Cuniff said.

The semi-autonomous robot is programmed to minimize human exposure to danger. The unique capabilities of the robot, including its sensor package, creates a notable advantage for base security.

“It’s going to give us exponentially more real-time ground situational awareness,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Barton, 142nd Security Forces commander. “I see the dog bringing a lot of additional capability down the road. Say we have a building alarm or an event we need to respond to on the installation. The dog can go with us or first and provide us a video feed of what’s going on inside the building while also providing a two-way interface that allows us the ability to start affecting the situation while other defenders respond.”

The robot can independently track the base’s perimeter, scan with multiple camera types, travel long distances on one charge, provide active surveillance, and securely funnel information back to those in the Security Forces Squadron. Defenders can interrupt the autonomous function of the dog and control it manually.

“This is the type of change that we should all strive for,” said Barton. “Maybe not a robot dog, but to find things that humans don’t necessarily have to do, or don’t do well and incorporate technology or some version of innovation to free up the manpower while also enhancing capability.”

Barton said the base is working to obtain two more QUGVs with the innovative technology developed by Ghost Robotics.