US Military Tests “Robotic Mule” With Soldiers

PhilHaney by PhilHaney on Jul. 14, 2014

This week the military tested a robot helper, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), more commonly referred to as the “Robotic Mule” during exercises in Hawaii. The robot can carry 400 pounds of supplies and travel twenty miles before refueling. Sounds better than my old Kia.

The enemy will never hear them coming.

Invented by Boston Dynamics the LS3 robot has been in development for over three years. Here you can see early video of the robot moving through a forest when it was known as the “Big Dog.” I think calling it a robotic mule sounds creepier, and robotic dog sounds more intimidating. Is robotic camel too tame?

The military hopes that the four legged automaton will take the burden of carrying heavy supplies off of soldiers who sometimes have to carry upwards of 100 pounds in the field. The robot will be able to follow a squad of soldiers through rugged terrain while reducing the amount of equipment that they have to wear. Other developments in this area have included research into robotic exoskeletons that give soldiers added strength.

What do you think, is the military’s “Robot Mule” a step in the right direction, or is this the beginning of the end?

Have a robot chase Phil Haney @PhilHaney

Xzelick User

If development on this has only been going on for 3 years then why did the big dog videos come out 8 years ago?  Break just makes this shit up.

as5617 User

You're very sneaky Army guys! At least you can get within a mile of the bad guys without them hearing you...

RobJVM User

…and quite stealthy as well.

123abcasdf User

What, does it get like 20 gallons per mile? 

Adam-Campbell-257 User

ya the enemy will never hear you coming lol why not use batteries so its silent and sure you can say where will you charge it same can be said about fuel or even do a hybrid so it can go silent when in enemy teritory  so you dont blow your cover and ya put guns on it mount a m134 now that would be cool

COHockey User

I think it's cool but in reality it has way too many moving parts, too many wear points, to be economically feasible. They never mention COST or display it anywhere on their website, so you know it will be somewhere between the F-35 program and burning million-dollar bearer bonds to light your spliff.

B-Gai User

WHy not just put guns on these things. Then you'll have super soldiers who can carry 400 pounds of equipment and save some soldier's life. 

Artimus1 User

Damn that thing is loud. Good start.

Mgamerrrr User

@COHockey I think it's also important to remember that those who break the mold are those pay the most costs. Give it a decade or so where these things are a normal piece of technology in the U.S. Military and they will cost less than the average soldier to train and build while also giving a generational technology advantage to our military over wartime enemies.

Mgamerrrr User

@COHockey Both of which the US government is more than happy to do, so it's kind of irrelevant.