Monday, 03 Oct, 2011 Technology
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Latest Invention: AlphaDog - Quadruped Robot for the Military

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With financial support from DARPA and US Marine Corps, researchers at Boston Dynamics, an MIT spinoff, managed to build a combat escort called AlphaDog.

The company from Waltham, Massachusetts, has recently unveiled a video in which it shows the abilities of the AlphaDog. The official name of the robotic escort is LS3, which stands for Legged Squad Support System.

As soon as it is built, the robot will be able to cross any type of terrain, being able to carry up to 400 pounds (180kg) of equipment for 20 miles(30km) before it needs to be refueled. The machine is completely autonomous, which means that no driver is required. It walks along with the troops using GPS, computer vision and most up-to-date hydraulics.

It would be interesting to note that AlphaDog is in fact an improved version of the BigDog, a prototype that was 10 times noisier and was able to carry a much lower weight, registering a shorter distance than the new quadruped model.

The official presentation of AlphaDog is expected to be made next year. "This video shows early results from the control development process," mentioned the company's representatives.

In order to assemble the machine, Boston Dynamics worked together with a number of outside groups, including researchers from Bell Helicopter, AAI Corporation, Carnegie Mellon, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Woodward HRT, which focuses on the development of motion control systems and components, reports Spectrum IEEE.

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