back to article Combat walker machines: $3m for new studies

The US military's famous walker robot, aka "BigDog" or the "Legged Squad Support System", has received a further $3m in funding. However, the machine doesn't yet seem very close to seeing frontline military service. The idea of BigDog/LS3 is that it would function like a sort of robotic packmule, accompanying a squad of …

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  1. Phalamir
    Grenade

    Cause that went so well the first time

    "Just perhaps, in a Star Wars aficionado-pleasing move, DARPA are even mulling the use of mighty walking tanks"

    So that a bunch of weird religious insurgent terrorists can destroy them in Siberia?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I for one...

    I for one, blah blah, blah blah, blah blady blah...

  3. Stef 4

    Great...

    So when this walker runs into an IED (which seem to be the bane of occupying troops), the troops will lose all their water, ammo, and supplies in one fell swoop.

    1. rciafardone

      Yea, but they will still be alive

      The point of this tech is to allow them to carry MORE that they ussualy can. Soldier should still carry the minimun necesary for survival. Plus a full sized squad would need more than just one of these toys. probably 4 or more. Another use for this toys would be to scout ahead and "trigger" any traps leid by the enemy. Heck if they are advanced enough they could detect them and dissable them extending their existence and utility, and in the worst case if they fail to dissable the trap and is activated no life will be lost. I think is a neat idea to upgrade humans squads with robot aids like these.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Defeated by a bunch of muppets...

    "Just perhaps, in a Star Wars aficionado-pleasing move, DARPA are even mulling the use of mighty walking tanks."

    The film at the weekend (Return of the Jedi) showed the AT-ST's being defeated by Ewoks...

    Smaller version - Good for battlefield recon though.

  5. frank ly
    Stop

    Thinking it through

    "...and running on diesel would avoid a regular mule's problem of eating up its own load with fodder requirements."

    So who carries the diesel for Big Dog?

  6. Johnny Canuck
    Terminator

    bigdog

    something about that thing creeps me out

  7. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Star Wars? Forget that...

    Battletech all the way. Perhaps we'll finally get a working TimberWolf.

    1. Rob

      Yes please

      I'll have a clan variant, none of that inner-sphere crap ;)

    2. TimeMaster T
      Thumb Up

      Timberwolf

      I thought the same thing. All they need to do is strap on some PPCs, missile pods and a couple of machine guns. Let me have that thing for a week and I'll show you a real Battlemech. Though they need to ditch the human style feet, they really look lame and limited.

  8. Hedley Phillips

    nice

    That must be the best walking action I have seen to date.

  9. The Mighty Biff

    Crush, Kill, Destroy !

    Mighty walking tanks eh ? They sounds awesome. And with no tracks to get damaged they'd be invulnerable ! Unless they've got some other kind of weakness.

    http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2009/11/18/how-to-create-a-weapon-that-is-devastating-and-unstoppable.html

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh wow

    I'd love to have a PETMAN with a seat of some kind on top. It'd be the new segway!

    Maybe I could get it to carry my shopping too.

  11. BlueGreen

    "would avoid a regular mule's problem of eating up its own load with fodder requirements"

    or maybe develop a more energy-dense mule fodder. If that's not too mundane & practical. Which it is.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ewoks

    "Jar Jar Binks makes the Ewoks look like fucking Shaft!"

  13. Matt 32

    Well...

    >or maybe develop a more energy-dense mule fodder. If that's not too mundane & practical.

    >Which it is.

    They have.

    They're called oats.

    A little higher tech hay replacer (basically just the best stuff from hay, dehydrated).

    Problem I believe is the digsetive track still needs a certain amount of bulk each day to function effectively and keep things moving. High energy / protein foods like oats and hay replacer don't provide enough roughage.

    Unless you re-engineer the donkey's digestive tract, but please don't tell DARPA...I'm sure the bioengineering dollars involved would make them swoon.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Rogue Group, use your harpoons

    and tow cables. Go for the legs.

    Problem solved :)

    1. Owain 1

      Eh haw

      Are we still talking about the donkey here? Seems a little harsh.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Welcome

    How silent is "Big Dog"

    I could see that thing giving away your position.

  16. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton

    Gait

    Is it me, or does that PETMAN look like he's got a funky walk going on?

    Paris, because you should see her when she's got the iPod going...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Not just you

      It's not just you. Both are kind of odd...My first thought when I watched the first video was that the BigDog was saying to himself "hot sand... hot hot sand... ow... hot!"

      Fire for his barefoot on a new blacktop parking lot on a hot summer's day walk.

  17. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton

    Loss of water, ammo, and supplies...

    [[So when this walker runs into an IED (which seem to be the bane of occupying troops), the troops will lose all their water, ammo, and supplies in one fell swoop.]]

    I don't believe I'll ever encounter a soldier who has trod on a bomb who wouldn't wholeheartedly prefer a robot along with all his water, ammo, and supplies had hit it instead.

    (Paris, because she's just as irreplaceable as a human foot / leg / life.)

    1. Stef 4

      Eugene Goodrich

      "I don't believe I'll ever encounter a soldier who has trod on a bomb who wouldn't wholeheartedly prefer a robot along with all his water, ammo, and supplies had hit it instead."

      I'm sorry, you've lost me. Where in the article or my comment did it say that this walker will somehow stop humans from being injured by IEDs? You might as well have said:

      "I don't believe I'll ever encounter a soldier who has been cuckolded by his brother, who wouldn't wholeheartedly prefer a robot along with all his water, ammo, and supplies had hit it instead."

      (Notice my great use of "hit it" ;) "

      1. Ivor Kintol D'uso

        @Stef4

        When in a hole...

  18. Claus P. Nielsen
    Stop

    Human foot

    Why does so many bipedal robot demonstrations attempt to mimic a human?

    Do we really consider ourselves the best walkers on the planet?

    It takes on average more than a year for a new human to learn to walk on two legs and much longer to do so in a stable way - let alone to run.

    Compare that to the walking apparatus of a chicken, that is so well designed that they walk right after exiting the egg and can even run around when their heads have been cut off.

    So lose the human feet and any attempt to reproduce human walking and start redesigning an ostrich.

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