The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, along with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Boston Dynamics, are working together to develop a robot that will lighten the load for Marines in remote locations. The Legged Squad Support System program developed a robot that can travel to areas that humvees can’t with minimal supervision. Taking a page from nature, the LS3 will get around using four legs.
“Wheeled and tracked vehicles are very limited in where they can go, but legged animals and people can go almost anywhere on Earth,” said Marc Raibert, the leader of the LS3 group at Boston Dynamics.To make sure the LS3 knows where it is going, the robot will either follow a designated Marine or travel to a specific location using GPS coordinates. This eliminates the need for a driver, allowing Marines to stay focused on the mission. The proposed design for the LS3 includes the ability to travel 20 miles without refueling and to carry 400 pounds of gear.
Boston Dynamics plans for the development to take 30 months, with a working prototype ready by 2012.