Just think about playing fetch in your garden with your four legged furry friend, imagine your four legged helper getting all over excited to see you when you walk in the door. They really are adorable, cute, furry and man’s best friend.
Honeywell, the defense contractor revealed at the Singapore air show a kit that can turn your cute, fluffy pet into a combat trained, camera equipped scout for disaster relief or even war.
This fabulous device is called K9C2SA and was seen by defense science this week. The name K9 is a reference to the dog, C2 is reference to the command and control and SA is for situational awareness. Although K9C2SA is a failed trademark name as it was applied for in 2014 and refused, but is rather a mouthful and not specific.
Defense new reports have shown that the system is complete with real time high resolution video including video stream, a recording system that can work in the day or by using infrared (IR) illuminated night video. The dog can be located from the use of a remote controlled IR beacon, IR illuminator and amber chest light.
Working from a distance of over 800 feet so that signals can easily be transferred from canine to the equipment and weighing under 4 pounds. The equipment is equipped with four buzzers that are connected and are capable of sending silent signals to the dog. Obviously, intense training is required, however, this could mean that the dogs are able to respond to the silent signals and know that they need to make further investigations or alternatively sniff out a warning of danger. The camera meanwhile relays all of the information to the humans who are at a safer distance away.
There are many reasons for using dogs, dogs can travel into areas that humans can’t, such as through small spaces or trawling through the undergrowth. Honeywell is not the first person to think of this idea, in fact just last year a visual engineer launched their own version which they called the “Cerberes” harness kit for canines.
Whilst dogs may not appear to be the greatest asset, they can be easily trained with professional trainers, and only require a few hours to pick up and understand the simple responses. When a canine undergoes constant training they can be fully trained within a few days. The main idea with great response times and a loud warning signal hundreds of lives could be saved with just one bark.
The K9C2SA is still in the prototype stages however, the plan is for it to be ready to use later this year. Honeywell confirmed that the equipment is still being tested in the tunnels in Israel and the military in Australia have expressed a strong interest in the equipment.
At this present time, Honeywell declined to confirm the expected price, instead he commented that the feedback from the American army was that they considered the equipment to be “affordable.”
Honeywell confirmed that he saw the equipment being used in the detection of dangerous gases and in search and rescue missions. He was quick to downplay the possibility of dogs being used to deliver bombs, although he did not deny that the equipment would provide this possibility.
This is not the first time dogs have been used in this field. The Soviet Union used dogs to deliver bombs to the German tanks during World War II, however the success rate was very hit and miss! Russia had also been using a similar dog training program until the 1990s.
Dogs are used at airports to check luggage for narcotics and even to sniff out explosives. Armed with their own bullet proof protection vests, extensive training these dogs are patrons of their own art. It is quite a common occurrence for dogs to win medals for saving lives, therefore it is not surprise that someone has decided to take this training onto the next level. It stands to reason that imagining your dog as an animal of war may be frightening, even ludicrous, however, with the way that technology in this area is rapidly progressing it is not just humans that are being tested to the limits.