U.S. Marine Corps bid goodbye to noisy robotic mule as the DARPA grant winning AlphaDog – designed and created by Alphabet – was too loud on the battlefield.
U.S. troops have been conducting military exercises with a new companion by their side. During the Rim of the Pacific military exercises, U.S. troops were joined by AlphaDog, a robotic mule. The spawn of a DARPA-Boston Dynamics Alphabet team, AlphaDog looks much like an oversized hound of hell. The Legged Squad Support System or LS3 as AlphaDog is also known was meant to ease the load carried by U.S. Marine Corps troops. While it performs greatly with this task, the robotic mule AlphaDog is simply too loud.
Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics team deserves all the merits for constructing an autonomous robotic dog capable of carrying heavy loads, avoiding obstacles and moving around at an impressive pace. One aspect that needs to be taken into consideration for further advancements is AlphaDog’s noisiness. As Kyle Olson with the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Lab stated:
“As Marines were using it, there was a challenge of seeing the potential possibility because of the limitations of the robot itself. They took it as it was: a loud robot that’s going to give away their position”.
As such, the U.S. Marine Corps bid goodbye to noisy robotic mule AlphaDog LS3. This doesn’t mean the project will be shelved. Both DARPA and the Boston Dynamics team agree that AlphaDog LS3 has a bundle of strengths that need to be harvested.
For instance, AlphaDog may carry up to 400 pounds at a time. The robotic mule could be used in other operations in its current state. Had it not been for the noisy engine powering it, U.S. troops would have had a welcome partner on the battlefield. According to guidelines, U.S. troops should only bear a 72-pound-load during marches. On the battlefield, the load of U.S. troops on the ground should not exceed 48 pounds. Compare these limits to the load U.S. troops were carrying on the field in Iraq, 2003: 101 pounds per person.
Most of the equipment is vital for the troops and cannot be left behind. While alternatives are being sought, DARPA and the Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics team believed AlphaDog LS3 could provide a solution. However, the robotic mule is too loud. A trusty load carrier, AlphaDog LS3 could give away the position of U.S. troops during missions.
Photo Credits: Mashable