A bigger BigDog is coming.
The robot, called Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, will be able to navigate rough terrain, carrying 180 kilograms (~400 pounds) of load and enough fuel for missions covering 32 kilometers (~20 miles) and lasting 24 hours.
Boston Dynamics says LS3 won't need a driver, because it will automatically follow a human leader using computer vision or travel to designated locations using sensors and GPS.
Breeding, er, building the robot will take 30 months and cost US $32 million. The first LS3 prototype is expected to debut in 2012.
"If LS3 can offload 50 lbs [23 kg] from the back of each solider in a squad, it will reduce warfighter injuries and fatigue and increase the combat effectiveness of our troops," Marc Raibert, president of Boston Dynamics and principal investigator for the program, said in a statement.
The company, based in Waltham, Mass., is teaming up with the likes of Bell Helicopter, Carnegie Mellon, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, among others, to develop LS3.
The LS3 follows on the footsteps of BigDog, and Raibert expects the new robot to make "a major leap forward." We can't wait for the videos.
Illustration: Boston Dynamics
Erico Guizzo is the Director of Digital Innovation at IEEE Spectrum, and cofounder of the IEEE Robots Guide, an award-winning interactive site about robotics. He oversees the operation, integration, and new feature development for all digital properties and platforms, including the Spectrum website, newsletters, CMS, editorial workflow systems, and analytics and AI tools. An IEEE Member, he is an electrical engineer by training and has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.