DARPA’s Legged Squad Support System (LS3) four-legged robot is preparing for the planned tests that will evaluate the performance of the four-legged robot as an integral member of a marine combat squad. Defense-Update reports. Toward this critical evaluation the LS3 is undergoing field evaluations at Ft. Picket, to assess the robot’s control, stability and maneuverability, including testing how the robot process “Leader Follow” decision making. Other aspects being tested are ‘obeying’ to verbal command, tits capability to recover from a roll, exact foot placement over rough terrain, and the ability to maneuver in an urban environment. The robot will be able to offload up to 400 pounds off the warfighter’s loads, currently carries in backpacks. To perform its mission without interruption to the squad’s operation the robot should be able to follow squad members through rugged terrain and interact with the troops in a natural way, similar to a trained animal with its handler. The robot could also be able to manoeuvre at night and serve as a mobile auxiliary power source to the squad, so troops can recharge batteries for radios and handheld devices while on patrol.
The December testing at Fort Pickett is the first in a series of planned demonstrations that will test the robot’s capabilities across different environments as development continues through the first half of 2014. LS3 is developed by Boston Dynamics under a DARPA funded program. View the tests Video