Contact us

Navigating AI at robot dog hackathon

Members of the Babcock training and technology teams recently attended the Defence Artificial Intelligence Centre (DAIC) Robot Dog Hackathon, where they collaborated to overcome a real-world Defence challenge.

More than 50 people from across the defence industry and academia gathered at the Defence BattleLab in Dorset to meet Spot the robotic dog, created by Boston Dynamic for the event hosted by MOD, DAIC, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

Our participants were put into teams of experts from different companies, with skills ranging from software engineering and robotics to data science and solution architecting. Working together, the hackers were tasked with a mission – to exploit the AI capabilities of the robotic dogs, which can climb stairs, move over rough ground and avoid obstacles. The teams and their dogs would be tested on the final day in an environment that recreates real life-threatening scenarios, demonstrating how these AI-enabled dogs can carry out potentially dangerous tasks that would otherwise be undertaken by Army bomb disposal experts.

Over the next 48 hours, teams worked with specialist Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) members, coding specialists from DSTL, and the Spot dog handlers, and used a combination of agile development, solution architecting, software development, robotics and data science to finetune their programming.

From Babcock, Matthew Ash, Training Solutions Architect, worked alongside Samuel Amos, Data Analysist as part of Team Four, who were so successful in the challenge they donated some of their code to other teams. In a brilliant demonstration of collaboration, the team also enabled the use of the camera system to identify rockets on the course, which was done using the data collected by another team.