Robot Dogs Commissioned by the US Military

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by jumpinjarhead, Feb 9, 2010.

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  1. Robot Dogs Commissioned by the Military

    By Paul Darin and Joshua Philipp

    Epoch Times Staff Created: Feb 7, 2010 Last Updated: Feb 7, 2010

    A military project to build large robot dogs was granted $32 million for the construction of a prototype on Jan. 26. The Legged Squad Support System (LS3 program) by Boston Dynamics aims to take a load off of soldiers by carrying up to 340 lbs. of supplies.

    The funds were granted by a branch of the U.S. military, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The same agency is also developing several other robot and unmanned drone projects, including the chainsaw-wielding, plant-eating Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATRTM) that can consume organic materials to refuel itself.

    The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWL) and DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO) are working closely on the LS3 program. The technology is expected to be used by the Army, Marines, and Special Forces.

    The LS3 program “will explore the development of a mission-relevant quadruped platform scaled to unburden the infantry squad and hence unburden the soldier,” says the Department of Defense (DoD) 2010 budget.

    The budget report adds that currently, soldiers sometimes carry more than 100 lbs. of equipment in areas not accessible with “wheeled platforms that support infantry” which affects how well they can fight in the case of an enemy engagement.

    The project will use technology from previous “biologically inspired legged platform development efforts,” and “multiple technical approaches will be explored, including electromechanical and hydraulic methods of legged actuation,” says the budget report.

    Prior to their 30-month development phase, Boston Dynamics already completed their first prototype, or “alpha male,” called Big Dog. The four-legged, bulky robot stands close to 2.5 feet tall and is 3 feet long.

    With the help of a built-in motion tracker, Big Dog is able to follow humans. The 240 lb. robot is able to run 4 mph, which is roughly the same speed a human can run. It can also climb 35-degree slopes, and walk through rubble, mud, snow, and water. The robot has set a record among legged robots for traveling 12.8 miles without needing to refuel or stop.

    Big Dog has an advanced onboard computer that controls it, which functions similar to how the human brain is able to sense and avoid problems. This computer controls the overall motion of the beast and computes in a variety of ways to control balance and navigation, and can also self-regulate its own energy reserves according to different situations.

    Several other onboard sensors help the mechanical canine go, including ones to measure the position of various parts, its contact with the ground, and gyroscopic technology. It also has stereo vision and can measure its temperature, performance, and hydraulic pressure. The various parts help keep Big Dog at its prime.

    The program aims to develop robot dogs tough enough to venture where other tactical vehicles cannot reach. The LS3 has several project goals in mind. In their final product, the LS3 dogs will be able to carry 400 lbs. or more of materials and cargo, provide 24 hours of self-sustained capability over distances of 20 miles, and weigh no more than 1,250 pounds including their fuel, base weight, and payload.

    The military is working more and more robotics into its arsenal. Aside from unmanned drones, which are becoming key tools in tracking down Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, others such as the remote-controlled TALON robots can disarm explosives.

    Among the other projects being developed is a synthetic organism that is immune to death. The $6 million project, called BioDesign, “eliminates the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement primarily by advanced genetic engineering and molecular biology technologies to produce the intended biological effect,” says the DoD budget report.

    BioDesign includes “designed molecular response” that “increase resistance to cellular death” and features a built-in genetic kill switch.
  2. 1. Epoch Times, JJ? I wouldn't have picked you as a member of Falung Gong.

    Insert joke about fitness standards here:

    3. Cost of an adult donkey in the US: $400-$1200
  3. I was just trying to impress you with the breadth of my quest for information. The Marines are increasingly using donkeys in Afghan but what's a "few"millions here or there.
  4. A nice, cushy government contract and re-election for a Congressman, I'd imagine.
  5. I wonder if this is it?
  6. Command_doh

    Command_doh LE Book Reviewer

    Those things have been in development for years. There is are a few video's on the net. I haven't clicked on the one above, but I distinctly remember one where a soldier is trying to kick over a b@stard demonic creation, and it stubbornly refuses to topple. I think the sight of that monstor clicking and whirring as it came towards a battlefield casualty would most likely give the poor bugger a heart attack.

    Behold - the forefather of the battlefield 'Terminator'. Just remember, don't let 'Skynet' go live!
  7. You have a good memory-that is indeed the video.
  8. I remember seeing that vid a while ago and and thinking that it looked bloody creepy just stood there prancing on its legs while some fella tried to knock it over.
  9. There can only be one Robot Dog...

  10. afirmative
  11. Why is it that our transatlantic comrades in arms are always trying to find hi tech solutions to non existent problems or merely trying to make the wheel rounder?
  12. It could work, remember Muffit from the original Battlestar Galatica?

    Attached Files:

  13. It could work, remember Muffit from the original Battlestar Galatica?
  14. Economic stimulus old man--it is all the rage over here! A billion here, a billion there.... :D