Marines Say ‘No’ to AlphaDog


The Legged Squad Support System (LS3, or AlphaDog) won’t be part of the near-future Marine corps. Following years of development and improvements through DARPA and Boston Dynamics, the robot was deemed too loud and difficult for deployment. The robo pack-mule was meant to assist soldiers in the field by carrying substantial equipment loads on patrol, with built-in gas engines and voice control adding a degree of freedom compared to older robots. However, when the ‘bot was put into demonstrative field tests, Kyle Olson, a spokesman for the Marines’ Warfighting Lab explained BigDog’s limits were also on show:

“As Marines were using it, there was the challenge of seeing the potential possibility because of the limitations of the robot itself,” Olson said. “They took it as it was: a loud robot that’s going to give away their position.”

As well as engine noise, there was the issue of repairing the robot if something went wrong — and how to tactically put a robot mule into Marine patrol. Research has moved onto a quieter electric-powered model but this came with its own cost — a severe drop in how much it could carry.

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SOURCE: Engadget, Mat Smith

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