Monday, February 28, 2005

From this link at, and the article originally from the Guardian Unlimited, they talk about DARPA's plan to introduce legged payload carriers to the US military. Specifically, a 4-legged robot named BigDog that's quite agile for most legged robots today.

I've heard this before, but I can't remember where. I believe attended a presentation on this concept. Basically this all about logistics. Soldiers are carrying too much crap on the field, and all the new gadgets that are coming out are adding more weight than they can physically carry.

Enter an autonomous cargo carrier. This allows you to offset the duty of carrying crap to a machine and leaves the soldier free to move about, scout, kill things, whatever. The robot carrier is also expendable whereas the soldier is usually more valuable.

Given that one of the weakest points in today's US military is logistics transporation, as seen by roadside attacks in Iraq, it would be a boon if they could offset this job to expendable autonomous cargo vehicles. The military is trying to achieve this from many different angles, and from what I remember from DARPA, there goal is to have something like 30%-40% of all military vehicles unmanned by 2015.

Jacob Everist

Robotics Research


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