US Army rejects $42m worth four-legged robot because it’s too noisy!
DARPA funded LS3 quadruped robot a.k.a BigDog has been in the making for quite some time and now there is some bad news for the poor thing. The United States Marine Corp have abandoned the robotic mule for use in combat situations as it makes too much noise and gives away position of soldiers in battlefield. So, that means this soldier is not going to be in the plan of things for US Army who want to use thousands of robotic forces by 2030.
Quite a significant amount of money has gone into its development which began in 2008 when DARPA offered $32m contract to Alphabet owned Boston Dynamics. Another $10m seeped in during 2013 for this future forward project. But now it seems as if all that money and effort have been put to waste. This thing just makes too much noise courtesy its gas-powered engine and engineers can’t figure out a way to reduce it. That’s pretty strange and LS3 is going to be retired even before it hits the battlefield.
According to Kyle Olson, a spokesperson for the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab;
As Marines were using it, there was the challenge of seeing the potential possibility because of the limitations of the robot itself.
The major task of LS3 was to carry 400 pound of gear in the battlefield which gave some respite to the soldiers who already have enough on their mind to sort. It can do that pretty well but the lawnmower-like noise is too much of a giveaway for the soldiers. Not only the noise, but repairing it in case the robotic mule breaks down is also an issue. In real action that would mean curtains down for everyone around and US Army can’t afford to do that.