Robotic dogs created by US scientists to follow soldiers into battle, even over the roughest terrain, can carry 400 pounds for 20 miles without the need to refuel. A video depicting what some are calling the, “Robo-Dogs of War” went viral online. The mechanical canines were developed by Boston Dynamics through funding from DARPA and the US Marine Corps, according to Orange News.
The robot dogs were reportedly a huge hit with Marines, scientists are now making plans to enable the battlefield aids to talk and respond to voices.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Lt. Col. Joe Hitt had this to say about the new technology:
“We want a radio operator to be able to tell it to sit, stay. Likewise, the robot could tell them, I’m stuck, wait.”
The mechanical hounds are officially called Legged Squad Support Systems. The modern military fighter can be forced to carry more than 100 pounds of gear, resulting in fatigue and degraded performance, according to the DARPA website. Decreasing the weight load of a dismounted solider was a major focus of the defense research and development which went into creating the Legged Squad Support Systems. The DARPA report went on to note that physical overburden is one of the top five science and technology challenges facing the Army today.
LS3, as the computerized canines are referred to by the military agency, are semi-autonomous devices that interact with troops in a natural way; very similar to the way a handler and a trained animal react to one another. The LS3 could also sever as a mobile auxiliary power source for and armed forces squad, allowing fighters to recharge batteries for handheld devices and radios during necessary for communications during combat situations.