Military tests robotic mule - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Military tests robotic mule

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The U.S. Marine Corps. has enlisted the help of a four-legged devil-dog of sorts.

A robotic mule known as the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, is taking part in military exercises in Hawaii.

LS3 is designed to carry 400 pounds and travel 20 miles without refueling. The robot is operated by a Marine with a sensor strapped to his or her foot.

LS3 follows the Marine using computer vision. The military released video of Lance Corporal Brandon Dieckmann operating the robot as he walked across a field in Oahu.

LS3 was invented by robotics firm Boston Dynamics and has undergone three years of testing by U.S. Marines.

The goal is to reduce the amount of equipment that fighters have to wear in the field, which can top more than 100 pounds.

LS3 seeks to demonstrate that a highly mobile, semi-autonomous legged robot can follow squad members through rugged terrain and interact with troops in a natural way, similar to a trained animal and its handler.

The goal is to develop a robot that will go through the same terrain the squad goes through without hindering the squad’s mission. The robot could also serve as a mobile auxiliary power source to the squad, so troops can recharge batteries for radios and handheld devices while on patrol.

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