LS3 robotic pack mule deemed to noisy for use in the field by the marines.
It seemed like a great idea. A super-strong robotic pack mule that could carry as much as 400 pounds of gear into a military operation, freeing the marines to engage in combat, but after testing and spending a lot of money, the Marines decided the LS3 robot is simply too noisy for use in the field, according to an article on gizmodo.com.
Kyle Olson, a spokesperson for the Marines’ Warfighting Lab said there was a challenge of seeing the potential possibility due to the robot’s limitations, adding the marines took it as it was, a loud robot that would give away their position in the field during a combat mission.
The quadruped robot was first constructed by Boston Dynamics in 2008, followed by a contract with Darpa in 2010. By 2012, the $32 million project had been named AlphaDog, but the Big Dog nickname stuck with most involved with the project and robot enthusiasts around the world, who monitored the progress of the development.
Some say the robot sounded like a lawn mower running through the grass, but none doubted the ability of the machine. The Big Dog was able to carry as much as 400 pounds of field gear across uneven terrain and could take a punch when it came down to it.
Despite the retirement of the Big Dog and its smaller cousin, Spot, which was a lighter-weight version that could not carry quite as much pack gear as the Big Dog, the robot will likely spawn a great number of offspring, as technologies improve and scientific advances in robotics make mechanical companions for the military more compatible.
Olson added they tend to play with things that are fanciful and strange, and that learning from the experiences was a big part of development, and they are still learning.
The LS3 may not have worked out the way everyone wished it would, but it is almost certain the lessons learned from the project and other projects involving robotics will lead to similar types of military assistants that can add to the safety of soldiers in the field.