DARPA is working on a mobile, semi-autonomous robot, the Legged Squad Support System (aka the ‘LS3′) that can carry equipment to ease the burden on soldiers.Lastweek, DARPA announced that an LS3 protoype has successfully completed several exercises, including the ability to follow a person using its sensors over rugged terrain outside.
The next step in testing the LS3 is to add the ability to obey simple verbal commands, like “sit” or “come here.” Additionally, DARPA hopes that the LS3 will be able to carry a 400 pound load over the course of a 20 mile rugged terrain trek without refueling. In essence, DARPA is looking for the LS3 to be a robotic “pack mule.”
“If successful, this could provide real value to a squad while addressing the military’s concern for unburdening troops,” said Army Lt. Col. Joe Hitt, DARPA program manager in a press release. “LS3 seeks to have the responsiveness of a trained animal and the carrying capacity of a mule.”
You can check out the LS3 in action in the video below.