Twitter Facebook Google RSS
 
Feature Stories 

'Big Dog' Could Become A Marine’s Best Friend 

2,008 

 By Breanne Wagner  

BALTIMORE — Dogs are said to be man’s best friend. Marine Corps officials hope that a new four-legged robot called “Big Dog” will be a Marine’s best friend.

The designers of the robot, which was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, believe that someday it could serve as a Marine’s pack mule. It would tote 200 pounds of gear that would otherwise be carried by Marines, said Maj. David Sadlier, who oversees the project at DARPA.

“The Marine Corps had an interest in it because it lightened the load,” he said in an interview.

Big Dog, which is the size of a large dog or small mule, can walk, run or climb on rough terrain while carrying large loads of equipment, according to manufacturer Boston Dynamics, a robotics and human simulations developer. It has an on-board computer that controls its legs, keeps it balanced to steer and navigate and manages a suite of sensors.

Marine Corps officials also like the robot because it can closely follow a unit and traverse terrain that is inaccessible to unmanned ground vehicles.

“I don’t think it is going to be that far in the future before we’re able to use something like this, send it off to meet the unit, send it away from the unit to go pick something up,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Murray, commander of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, Va.

The Marine Corps Combat Development Command originally signed a memorandum of agreement with DARPA in March 2007 to jointly develop the technology. The agreement will come to an end this month with a final assessment at Quantico, said Sadlier. Big Dog will undergo three tests, including a five-mile hike when it will follow a Marine down a road, an obstacle course where it will demonstrate limited autonomous navigation and a final hike through a hilly trail. During the final portion, it will carry a mortar tube on its back, Sadlier said.

After the July test, DARPA will determine the next step.

Please email your comments to SErwin@ndia.org

Submit Your Reader's Comment Below
*Name
 
*eMail
 
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
*Comments
 
 
Refresh
Please enter the text displayed in the image.
The picture contains 6 characters.
*Characters
  
*Legal Notice

NDIA is not responsible for screening, policing, editing, or monitoring your or another user's postings and encourages all of its users to use reasonable discretion and caution in evaluating or reviewing any posting. Moreover, and except as provided below with respect to NDIA's right and ability to delete or remove a posting (or any part thereof), NDIA does not endorse, oppose, or edit any opinion or information provided by you or another user and does not make any representation with respect to, nor does it endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other material displayed, uploaded, or distributed by you or any other user. Nevertheless, NDIA reserves the right to delete or take other action with respect to postings (or parts thereof) that NDIA believes in good faith violate this Legal Notice and/or are potentially harmful or unlawful. If you violate this Legal Notice, NDIA may, in its sole discretion, delete the unacceptable content from your posting, remove or delete the posting in its entirety, issue you a warning, and/or terminate your use of the NDIA site. Moreover, it is a policy of NDIA to take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws. If you become aware of postings that violate these rules regarding acceptable behavior or content, you may contact NDIA at 703.522.1820.

 
 
  Bookmark and Share