Run! Here comes BigDog’s bigger brother

Who wants to go walkies?

Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

Meet AlphaDog–it’s BigDog on steroids.

This is our first glimpse of the brother of Boston Dynamics’ robotic beast of burden, BigDog.

The vid below shows a lab prototype of the quadruped war robot, aka the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, funded by DARPA and the Marine Corps.

The donkey-sized machine is designed to carry up to 400 pounds of gear and follow troops over rough terrain on missions of 20 miles and up to 24 hours.

That’s more than BigDog’s payload of 340 pounds and 12 miles; as a general rule, horses can comfortably carry up to 240 pounds. AlphaDog will have some degree of autonomy like animals, using computer vision to follow a leader or automatically trotting to GPS way points.

In the video, AlphaDog is seen walking with 400 pounds of barbell weights. It scrambles over rocks and a log before breaking into a gallop.

As with BigDog, Alpha can stay upright when shoved by one or two men. If it does fall over, it can get up, as seen at the end of the vid.

AlphaDog … [Read more]

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