Tags: marines | ls3 robot mule | google | combat

Marines LS3 Robot Mule Made by Google Too Loud for Combat

Image: Marines LS3 Robot Mule Made by Google Too Loud for Combat
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By    |   Wednesday, 30 Dec 2015 07:02 AM

The Marines have decided Google's LS3 robot mule is too loud for combat, saying the machine built to carry heavy loads on the battlefield could give away troops' positions.

Officially called the Legged Squad Support System, LS3 was built with a $32 million contract between the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Google's Boston Dynamics, said Military.com. Resembling a headless mule, the machine can carry 400 pounds of gear.

The Marines put the robot through its paces during the 2014 Rim of the Pacific military exercises and exposed its limitations, including a lawnmower-like noise. The trial was supposed to show off the robot's ability to operate in rough terrain and respond to commands.

"As Marines were using it, there was the challenge of seeing the potential possibility because of the limitations of the robot itself," said Kyle Olson, spokesman for the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. "They took it as it was: a loud robot that's going to give away their position."

Boston Dynamics had hoped the gas-powered, barrel-chested robot could work side-by-side with soldiers by carrying heavy equipment.

The LS3 carries "enough fuel for a 20-mile mission lasting 24 hours," according to the Boston Dynamics' LS3 website. The robot "automatically follows its leader using computer vision, so it does not need a dedicated driver. It also travels to designated locations using terrain sensing and GPS."

Additional problems arose with repairing the LS3 when it broke down in the field.

A smaller, electric-power robot about the size of a large dog was tested in September, but it could carry only 40 pounds and did not have the advanced technology features of the LS3.

Olson told NBC News the LS3 was a "waypoint along a path of discovery and development" and will continue to be researched for ways robots can assist servicemen in the field.


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The Marines have decided Google's LS3 robot mule is too loud for combat, saying the machine built to carry heavy loads on the battlefield could give away troops' positions.
marines, ls3 robot mule, google, combat
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2015-02-30
Wednesday, 30 Dec 2015 07:02 AM
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