That clip looks ridiculous!
Obviously it's just two guys with skinny legs playing robot :)
Ever since the days of the Roman legionary, foot soldiers have struggled to carry all their gear, and have preferred that someone or something else give them a hand. Arse-kicking Roman general Gaius Marius, trying to reduce the size and unwieldiness of the legions' baggage trains, made his new professional soldiers - the …
Very cool! Sounds awesome, but to be honest, considering the fuel 'crisis' etc, it would be far far more effective to just bring normal mules, plus they would be easier to feed and deal with in general.
Although the Bigdog could be deployed in areas where a 'normal' mule may not be able to work, ie deep snow, awkward terrain, amphibius landings, air drop in etc....
I still think its very cool though! :-D
It's journos mixing up metric and Imperial (standard) measurements in one sentence. Such as:
'"BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring one metre long, 0.7 metres tall and 75kg weight...so far, BigDog has trotted at 3.3 mph, climbed a 35 degree slope and carried a 120 lb load," says Boston Dynamics.'
If you're trying to leave us all none the wiser please throw in a few measurements in fathoms, firkens, angstroms and Waleses for completeness.
"The goal of this effort," according to the contract announcement, "is to create legged robots that mimic animal structure, mechanics and control to achieve animal-like strength, speed and mobility.
So why not use an animal?
Camels would get my vote; they can survive in a wide variety of environmental conditions (better than those feeble homo sapiens anyway), can carry a fair weight and probably need refuelling less than this, their robotic counterpart.
And, if Pratchett is right, Camels could probably work out best trajectories for artillery bombardments as well... if only we could work out how to ask them.
In fact, the ONLY point I can see in this development is laying down the groundwork for giant AT-AT style death machines.
If you can fit this thing with a small fuel cell and simple, exchangeable or refillable methane tank (hydrogen is not practical) I'm sure you can get 2 hours of electrical power out of it, especially if that was buffered by a battery. At peak load times (running, jumping etc) a battery can provide a boost in energy that the engine can't keep up with, and the engine could recharge the battery while walking at slower speeds and over light terrain.
On the other hand, if this thing is meant to walk with troops, then it's meant to go where trucks and cars can't... is 2 hours enough?
If they can't make it silent, then it's only real good use falls to survalence of hazardous terrain in cases where we don't care if we're seen (inside buildings that have been hit by bombs, etc). It looks a lot faster than traditional treaded robots used for this today so it has significant advantage there, especially if it's near autonomous. It could potentially even carry wounded. It could also be used to carry heavy munitions to top floors of buildings, ammo reloads and other equipment to troops entrenched or too far from roads (or anywhere trucks and men are at risk from snipe or other attack).
It has its uses, more if it can be made silent and easily refueled. I don't expect it will be used as a "mule" simply to carry packs over long distance, but over short distances, especially under fire, it frees our troops for movement. Imaging one of these walking back and forth between troop clusters, dropping to the ground in a safe spot to bring a few extra clips to each group every 10 minutes or so, running a small loop between several groups and a supply rig in a safer location.
As troops are running from corner to corner, building to building, in urban combat, covering each other as they run, this could carry their gear, allowing them to be more agile, but never far from supplies, radio, and even heavy weapons if they find a spot to set up. I like it overall.
Real mules are faster, probably quieter, and carry heavier loads than this thing. So why don't modern infantry use them? Because they're a ridiculous idea, that's why. Either you're being stealthy, in which case sorry but you need to carry your own kit. Or you aren't in which case, throw your kit in the back of a 4 tonner, warrior or quad bike.
Gloriously Belize have a mule load as a standard weight measure. It's 200lb.
Unfortunately as the product of the experiment shown by the BBC at the above URL has passed through the hands of the RSPCA. So I bet that it has been neutered, so it will have to be cloned or bred again. In either case it will be cheaper than building the mechanical equivalent. It can carry similar load, it is cheaper to maintain (all you need is to provision it with enough meat) and it can probably also fight (or at least defend its handler).
I think this machine is a marvelous idea, particularly if it has large ears like a bloodhound where you can fit solar panels to suplement it's energy requirements. However, the notion of using it for going ahead over potential mine fields in view of it's probable cost is offensive, it is much cheaper and more practical to use second lieutenants fresh out of officer training as they are generally not much use, often more dangerous to their own side than the enemy and since there is normally a good supply of preppy types in western society, they are a renewable resource. Oh and to the chap who thought mules are probably quieter than this machine is definately a towny. Last thing this would be code named `Squaddy Rover´?
First of all, the noise issue is a very big one. Who is this "dog" supposed to be for ? Special Forces ? Not if it makes a racket. Regular troops ? They march by the hundreds and make enough racket already, so just put a truck behind them to carry their stuff, it won't make much of a difference.
I can imagine a robot for bomb-disposal or landmine detection (just have it run over the target zone), but I don't think troops would like regular visits from an ammo robot that would reveal their position on a continuous basis. I have no experience myself, but I don't think that real-life combat resembles Counter-Strike or BF2142 in any way. I think real troops in a firefight prefer cover and concealment. A racket-making robot dragging ammo around every quarter hour would tear both to shreds, not to mention being a walking target of destruction itself (hey, isn't that an ammo dog ? Give me the rocket launcher and tell me where it stops !).
As for the stealth aspect of things, if it is supposed to go on a mission with Special Forces troops, then it needs to be as silent as possible and a lot more enduring than 2 hours, or even four. Special Forces missions are not the kind you do in two hours, in my opinion. Trekking over a few kilometers of jungle to infiltrate an enemy position with the goal of destroying a satellite dish or fuel tanks is not going to be facilitated by a robodog that needs feeding every two hours. And they're not going to carry it until they need it - they have enough to carry already.
Frankly put, aside from bomb detection and eventually disposal, I fail to see where a robodog is really going to be better than a more conventional transport vehicle.
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