But this test has one important difference. Now the ‘bot can obey instructions to follow people. The Marines connected the robot to the Marine Corps Tactical Robot Controller (TRC), a 10-pound touchscreen device a soldier or Marine can use to send the robot orders. That could be telling the AlphaDog to follow an infantry squad, or give a human operator the ability to take direct control if the ‘bot hits a rough patch. The ‘bot can also be given different “modes.” It can follow “tight” or in a corridor, and — in the future — automatically travel to waypoints. “The robot can also provide its status through the TRC to the human operator,” Hitt says.