Skip to Content

Just What Soldiers Need: A Bigger Robotic Dog

A next-generation robotic dog will help soldiers.
September 30, 2011

After BigDog, LittleDog, and Petman, we now have a glimpse of the newest intimidating robot from Boston Dynamics: AlphaDog.

In the video below, you can see an AlphaDog prototype trot along like a mechanical horse. It smoothly steps over loose rocks and a pipe, rebounds after a two-person shove, and rights itself when it’s on its side. The technology is an evolution of BigDog, which could catch itself when skidding across ice and carry 340 pounds.

This motorized mule (officially dubbed Legged Squad Support Systems, or LS3) will be able to carry 400 pounds nonstop for up to 24 hours (or 20 miles) over rugged terrain. This could be a great boon to combat soldiers, who have to lug over a hundred pounds of payload. And rather than need a human driver, AlphaDog will use computer vision to follow a squadron leader on its own, or GPS to go to a predetermined location, according to Boston Dynamics.

The first completed version, funded by DARPA and the US Marine Corps, is aimed for 2012.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Technology that lets us “speak” to our dead relatives has arrived. Are we ready?

Digital clones of the people we love could forever change how we grieve.

How to befriend a crow

I watched a bunch of crows on TikTok and now I'm trying to connect with some local birds.

Starlink signals can be reverse-engineered to work like GPS—whether SpaceX likes it or not

Elon said no thanks to using his mega-constellation for navigation. Researchers went ahead anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.