The Army Tested Robot Dog Soldiers And Decided Real Dogs Are Still Better
January 18, 2016
Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby. Sorry, I mean, Sergeant.
Boston Dynamics, seeking to reduce battlefield risk to human soldiers, has been trying out prototypes of robotic soldiers. First came the LS3, the "robo-mule," with the potential to carry up to 400 pounds of gear.
And more recently, the robotics company introduced Spot, a robotic dog soldier. GUYS. A ROBO-DOG SOLDIER. Have they sold the movie rights yet??
Spot, built as an alternative to military dogs, is a 160-pound, remotely controlled robot with a spinning camera mounted where its head should be. Spot works as a scout, able to enter a room and check if the space is reasonably clear before soldiers come in to do their job.
In September, Spot went through basic training with the U.S. Marines, passing combat trials and earning support from the Marines it trained with.
The catch though? These Robo-Rambo-Rovers are just too noisy. Without the element of surprise, they simply don't offer a strategic advantage to the Army. The LS3 was discontinued because its petrol-powered engine is distractingly loud.
The quieter, electrically-powered Spot, meanwhile, was also discontinued. The reasoning has been less publicized, though some sources cited the fact that Spot could only carry 40 pounds of gear. But does that really matter for a scouting robot? The mystery continues. So long, Spot!
In the meantime, score one for real, flesh-and-fur dogs. These heroes are holding off the age of the robots and serving admirably on the front lines, like Rocky, a Military Working Dog who earned a purple heart for his service in Afghanistan.
One of our Military Working Dogs, Rocky, and his handler were injured this week during operations in Afghanistan. Rocky...
To Rocky and the other military dogs hard at work overseas, we thank you for your service. And robo-pups… better luck next century. Checkout the gallery below for a reminder of why the real thing is better!