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Robotics The Military

BigDog Robot Gets Much Bigger 158

savuporo writes "Well known Boston Dynamics BigDog prototype now has a bigger brother named 'LS3' or Legged Squad Support System. It's intended to carry heavy loads for long treks and have enough autonomy to follow soldiers around, listen to voice commands and navigate autonomously."

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BigDog Robot Gets Much Bigger

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  • Pack behavior (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:10PM (#38971341)

    It would be entertaining if it exhibited pack behavior. 30 or 40 of them running around together would be pretty interesting to see.

  • by Ender_Stonebender ( 60900 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:17PM (#38971421) Homepage Journal

    Do you ever wonder if it would be cheaper and easier just to go back to using horses? I mean, we've been breeding them for hundreds of years...and I'm sure we could make some Kevlar-and-ceramic armor for them to protect them from bullets and shrapnel...

    I suppose the advantage is that robots don't need to trained not to panic in the middle of battle. But I still wonder if chasing a technological solution is the wrong path.

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:27PM (#38971587) Homepage Journal

    Thinking about this from the viewpoint of the opposing commander, I'd make this thing the first target. Why? Because the soldier, initially free from carrying some part of their current 100 lb load because of the LS3, will then have to shoulder (whatever is left of) the load -- and they won't have the correct pack, harness, etc. to do it, so it will slow them down even more than the original state of packing the 100 lbs prior to the advent of the LS3. Not to mention that shooting at the LS3 will probably put some highly inconvenient holes in the soldier's equipment.

    A properly configured mobile force -- at the individual combatant level -- carries everything it needs in an optimally loaded manner. Start adding in support vehicles -- autonomous or piloted -- and what you have done is put the soldier's supplies at risk, and therefore, likely the mission as well.

    OTOH, these would be great in civilian roles. With a decent muffler system...

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:28PM (#38971611) Homepage Journal

    And you can eat them, as was commonly done in warfare in the past.

  • by hrvatska ( 790627 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:35PM (#38971723)
    When not in use pack animals still need to be cared for. That means feeding and watering, cleaning the area they're stabled in, and veterinary care. I assume when these robots aren't in use they just need to be stored in an appropriate container. My guess is that it would be easier to get one of these robots into a remote area by air than a pack animal. And if a leg goes bad on one of these robots only the leg needs to be replaced. If a leg goes bad on a pack animal it probably needs to be put down, and then you have to bring in a whole new pack animal.
  • Re:Pack behavior (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LoP_XTC ( 312463 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:45PM (#38971873)

    Okay people admit you read this with a slightly British accent in your head :)

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein