Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Robotics The Military Hardware Science

Boston Dynamics Unveils AlphaDog Quadruped Robot 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-will-chase-you-in-your-nightmares dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Boston Dynamics, the company that created the BigDog quadruped robot, has unveiled a new, bigger system called AlphaDog. AlphaDog, a DARPA-sponsored project, can carry a payload of 400 pounds for up to 20 miles without having to refuel, and it's also much quieter than BigDog. The robot is designed to assist humans in carrying heavy equipment over rough terrain, and Boston Dynamics' schedule has the first walk-out of AlphaDog taking place sometime in 2012, when U.S. Marines will begin to put the robot to the test for real."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Boston Dynamics Unveils AlphaDog Quadruped Robot

Comments Filter:
  • why not a mule (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 30, 2011 @09:50AM (#37566396)

    A mule is a quadruped and can carry 200 pounds a lot farther than 20 miles. It has much better AI, it refuels with easily obtained biofuel, and in a crunch you can eat it!

  • Re:why not a mule (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Friday September 30, 2011 @09:57AM (#37566478)

    On the other hand it won't walk continuously without rest or on-hand guidance towards an arbitrarily chosen remote destination, and it's not going to make your enemies crap themselves in horror.

  • Re:why not a mule (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Friday September 30, 2011 @10:34AM (#37566930)

    A mule is a quadruped and can carry 200 pounds a lot farther than 20 miles. It has much better AI, it refuels with easily obtained biofuel, and in a crunch you can eat it!

    Came here to say this.

    I would add that a mule is nearly silent, which comes in handy when people with guns are looking for you.

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Friday September 30, 2011 @10:54AM (#37567146) Homepage Journal

    Considering the current alternative is a radio flyer wagon, one could argue this is better than no self-righting option. Off-road jeeps aren't terribly easy to right, but they weigh considerably more, and don't have a self-righting mode.
     
    I can see dog and cow-sized versions of this on the battlefield in 10 years, but I think the ultimate goal is to put a .50 cal mounted machine gun on one of these things, or some sort of light artillery, so you can remotely place light artillery on top of a rocky hill, far from convenient roads. Self righting a walking vehicle designed to replace a 12,000 lb towed artillery gun/trailer and the truck needed to tow it, in the field - baking in a self-righting system this early in the design phase seems like a good idea, no matter how crude. You can always expand later. Many insects in my garden don't have a self-righting mechanism, so one might say we're already one-upping nature.

  • Re:why not a mule (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 30, 2011 @11:18AM (#37567444)

    But a mule is thousands of times cheaper (don't actually know how much the military pays for one of these, but I would guess it's in the millions, plus R&D costs). And providing fuel for the war in remote parts of Afghanistan is a huge cost, in money and lives (lots of troops die protecting fuel convoys). So it's really rather ridiculous to try to replace a mule with this thing, especially for a nation that is spiraling into financial disaster.

    You can't mount big guns on the next generation of mules and remote control them from an island in the Indian Ocean

  • Re:why not a mule (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday September 30, 2011 @11:29AM (#37567622) Homepage

    But a mule is thousands of times cheaper (don't actually know how much the military pays for one of these, but I would guess it's in the millions, plus R&D costs). And providing fuel for the war in remote parts of Afghanistan is a huge cost, in money and lives (lots of troops die protecting fuel convoys). So it's really rather ridiculous to try to replace a mule with this thing, especially for a nation that is spiraling into financial disaster.

    Ever worked with a mule? There is a reason that the phrase "mule headed" exists. It takes a skilled handler to get mules to go where you want them to. In xstan, granted, there are probably lots of people with mule herding experience. When we invade Canada, not so much. Shoot at the mule, the mule goes the other way. Mule food is expensive and bulky and they don't do well on a diet of JP8. Want to drop a dozen mules out of a C17? Go ahead. We'll watch.

    So there are reasons for Alpha dog, aside from the techno cool factor. Horses for courses, I suppose.....

After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.

Working...