DARPA-Alphabet AlphaDog was released from U.S. Marines duty as the frightening robot-dog proved to be a weak spot for the troops during military exercises.
AlphaDog, or LS3 was designed and created by Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics team. Contracted by DARPA, the engineering team did bring the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) to life. AlphaDog has many strengths. Including literal strength as the robot-dog is capable of carrying 400 pounds at a time. However, Alphabet’s AlphaDog is too noisy.
The robotic dog, impressive by its looks has this weak spot. Being powered by a petrol engine, AlphaDog LS3 could give away U.S. Marines position in real-life situations. Some of the troops participating in the Rim of the Pacific military exercise last year have described the noise made by AlphaDog LS3 as that of a large swarm of bees. Kyle Olson, one spokesperson with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab declared:
“As Marines were using it, there was the 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”.
Against this background, DARPA-Alphabet AlphaDog was released from U.S. Marine duty. Had the strong AlphaDog LS3 been designed to avoid the bee swarm noise, the robotic dog would have proven quite an asset for the U.S. Marines. In its current state, AlphaDog LS3 is perfectly likened to a robotic mule.
During military exercises, the robotic dog proved that it can efficiently carry the heavy load the U.S. Marines would normally carry. AlphaDog LS3 can carry up to 400 pounds. During marches, troops should carry no more than 72 pounds. In addition, while in a fighting mission, troops’ load should be limited to 48 pounds. However, in 2003 when paratroopers reached Iraq, their load was 101 pounds per person while fighting.
Under these circumstances, a robotic mule for the U.S. Marines doesn’t sound like a far-fetched idea. Alphabet’s Boston Dynamics team won a 42 million dollars DARPA-awarded grant to design and develop AlphaDog LS3. Unfortunately, the robotic dog or robotic mule will not be joining the U.S. Marines in any operation too soon. At least not in its current state. However, AlphaDog could prove useful in a variety of other circumstances outside the boundaries of military operations.
The Boston Dynamics team also designed a quieter little brother for AlphaDog LS3. Its name is Spot and it is electrically powered. Its weakness is that it only bears a load of 40 pounds. According to James Pineiro, head of the Ground Combat Element branch, Spot is more fitted for reconnaissance missions than to carry loads.
Photo Credits: Youtube