US marines take robo-mule for walk – thenews.com.pk
NEW YORK: The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab is testing a new four-legged, rugged terrain robot, dubbed “Robo-mule,” and demonstrated it Sept. 10 at Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Va., giving Commandant Gen. Jim Amos a look at the newest technology.
The Legged Squad Support System (LS3) demonstration by the Warfighting Lab, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Boston Dynamics is part of a larger effort to develop unmanned equipment that could help lighten the load for Marines on the ground.
LS3 differs from autonomous vehicles like the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate and the Cargo Unmanned Ground Vehicle, which were tested this summer at Fort Pickett, Va. Unlike large wheeled vehicles, the LS3’s animal-like body is designed to climb rugged slopes and inclines.
“This can go where GUSS and the Cargo UGV cannot go,” said Maj. James Richardson, head of the Logistics Combat Element Branch within the laboratory’s technology division.
Like the Cargo UGV and GUSS, LS3 does not require a driver and is controlled by a remote operator. Intended for small infantry units, LS3 can carry up to 400 pounds of equipment, including ammo, batteries and water. It can also reach speeds of 5 mph and accelerate to 8 mph during “burst” periods. Richardson said developers hope to increase operating speeds to 20 mph and get the robot to respond to basic verbal commands.
Robo-mule recognizes road obstacles and has a refined sensor system to prevent it from walking off cliffs. It can also turn itself upright onto all four legs autonomously if it’s been knocked over.