At this stage, there’s not much point in betting against Google. The company has gained enough wealth and sway to get whatever it wants, and get involved in whatever it wants. In this case, that happens to be the field of robotics — because one of their latest products has been a hit with the Marines.
The robot in question is Spot, a four-legged and hydraulics-powered machine built by Google’s Boston Dynamics division. With its brethren — and the robot itself — long since proven to work, the Marine Corps and DARPA decided to put Spot through its paces alongside infantry in a test environment. As expected, Spot did exceedingly well; despite being the smallest iteration of Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robots, it handled terrain better than its older brothers. That’s on top of its load-carrying abilities, and its natural talent for scouting ahead.
The range of operations and ease of control means that it has plenty of potential in real warfare situations — and living dogs won’t have to put their lives in danger. That’s not to devalue the lives of robots like Spot, though; if the technology takes off, then they’ll likely become beloved members of squads everywhere.