DARPA testing of Legged Squad Support System begins

NASHUA, N.H., 15 Jan 2012. Skyler Frink discusses DARPA's testing of the LS3 quadruped robot and the technology behind it in this week's Military & Aerospace Electronics Report.



This is the Military and Aerospace Electronics Report, I'm Skyler Frink.

The average infantryman in the field who carries up to 100 pounds of equipment will soon be getting help from their new four-legged friend, the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3. The LS3 is a quadruped robot that can carry 400 pounds of equipment, walk 20 miles on a charge, and also act as an auxiliary power source for recharging batteries for radios and other devices. The goal of the robot is to reduce the fatigue, physical strain, and poor performance heavy loads can cause warfighters to experience. With one robot capable of carrying all supplies not immediately needed on-hand, the technology is promising.

The system, developed by a team led by Boston Dynamics, is capable of traversing rugged terrain, obeying verbal commands, and navigating hazardous weather conditions such as rain or snow. The LS3 project began in September of 2009, and is based on the Big Dog robot from Boston Dynamics.

The LS3 has already completed its first outdoor assessment, which showed its ability to climb and descend a hill. Future tests will be conducted in

The LS3 can sense the environment around it, even at night, and can follow a leader visually or obey various commands. Some of the commands the robot can understand are "Stop, sit, follow tight, follow on corridor, and go to coordinates."

The first of the LS3 robots may see deployment with the Marine Corps in two years, and may see wider use once it has been proven in the field.

For the Military & Aerospace Electronics report, I'm Skyler Frink.

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