US Military Reviewing Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicles

US Military Reviewing Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicles

Luisa Martinez
3 min read

US Marine Forces Special Operations Command Evaluates Ghost Robotics' Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicles

The United States Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is currently conducting a review of Ghost Robotics' quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicles (Q-UGVs), assessing their potential use in military operations. These innovative robotic systems, resembling dogs with four legs, are being considered for various applications such as reconnaissance, surveillance, and hazardous environment exploration. Additionally, MARSOC is exploring the possibility of equipping these Q-UGVs with AI-enabled gun systems developed by Onyx Industries, which can detect and track targets using advanced digital imaging technology. Notably, these gun systems require human oversight for making fire decisions, ensuring a human-in-the-loop control. It is emphasized that all evaluations and potential applications of armed Q-UGVs adhere to the Department of Defense policies concerning autonomous weapons.

This assessment by MARSOC reflects a broader trend in the military's interest in autonomous and unmanned ground vehicles, signifying a shift in warfare strategies. The integration of advanced technologies into military operations raises critical ethical considerations and the potential risks associated with increasingly autonomous weapons systems. By leveraging Q-UGVs, military organizations can minimize risks to human personnel in hazardous environments and enhance their reconnaissance and security capabilities.

Key Takeaways

  • MARSOC is evaluating the potential use of Ghost Robotics' Q-UGVs, designed for applications including reconnaissance, surveillance, and hazardous environment exploration.
  • There is a consideration to equip the Q-UGVs with AI-enabled gun systems from Onyx Industries, which require human oversight for fire decisions.
  • The evaluation of armed Q-UGVs reflects a broader interest in small unmanned ground vehicles for military use, as well as potential ethical implications.


The review of Ghost Robotics' Q-UGVs and Onyx Industries' AI-enabled gun systems by MARSOC underscores the increased interest in autonomous weapons for military applications. This development could have significant implications for defense contractors, particularly those involved in robotics and AI, while also prompting ethical concerns related to autonomous warfare.

In the short term, this assessment may lead to potential technology partnerships between Ghost Robotics and Onyx Industries, alongside increased defense spending in robotics research and development. Over the long term, it could pave the way for widespread adoption of autonomous weapons, reshaping military strategies and potentially intensifying geopolitical tensions. Countries with advanced robotics and AI capabilities may accelerate their efforts to develop similar systems to maintain international parity.

Furthermore, this advancement in autonomous weapons may trigger scrutiny from human rights organizations and international bodies concerning ethical implications, potentially resulting in the establishment of new regulations. This could compel the United Nations and other global institutions to address these concerns, striving to balance military innovation with ethical responsibility.

Did You Know?

  • Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Q-UGVs): These innovative robotic systems have four legs resembling a dog and are designed for various military applications, offering improved mobility and terrain adaptation compared to traditional wheeled or tracked robots. MARSOC is evaluating Ghost Robotics' Q-UGVs for potential military utilization, reflecting the broader military interest in unmanned ground vehicles.
  • Onyx Industries' Gun Systems with AI-enabled Targeting: Onyx Industries has developed advanced remote weapon systems that utilize AI-enabled digital imaging for target detection and tracking. These systems, based on Onyx's SENTRY remote weapon system, necessitate human oversight for engagement decisions, blending AI accuracy with human control.
  • Autonomous Weapons and Ethical Implications: The evaluation of armed Q-UGVs by MARSOC highlights the emerging interest in small unmanned ground vehicles for military use, prompting considerations regarding the future of warfare and the ethical implications of increasingly autonomous weapons systems. This assessment also underscores the need for regulations and oversight to address accountability and potential misuse of autonomous weapons.

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