What can $10 million buy you? A bulletproof, tireless mechanical soldier — or at least one to carry a real soldier’s gear.
The eerily semi-sentient robots from Boston Dynamics are making yet another fateful step toward global dominance in early 2015, courtesy of the semi-secret Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is putting up $10 million for the company to armor-up their creepy-looking, four-legged LS3 ’droid.
LS3 is a rough-terrain robot designed to go anywhere Marines and Soldiers go on foot, helping carry their load. Each LS3 carries up to 400 lbs of gear and enough fuel for a 20-mile mission lasting 24 hours. LS3 automatically follows its leader using computer vision, so it does not need a dedicated driver. It also travels to designated locations using terrain sensing and GPS. LS3 began a 2-year field testing phase in 2012. LS3 isfunded by DARPA and the US Marine Corps.
The LS3 — or “Legged Squad Support System” — was designed and engineered to be a tireless beast of burden for U.S. troops, who are each often weighed down with more that 100 pounds of gear while in the field. With all of that bulk carried by an all-terrain LS3, our soldiers could be a far more effective fighting force, or so they think.
To be completed by March of 2015, the improvements to the LS3 will include “increased reliability and usability, enhanced survivability against small arms fire and a quiet power supply to support stealthy tactical operations” says DARPA in their marching orders to Cyberdyne Systems… er, Boston Dynamics.
Sounds great now, but…
Photos: Boston Dynamics/DARPA; Warner Bros