Alphabet-owned Boston Dynamics has been working with DARPA on building robots that could carry supplies for the military. However, the robot dogs are producing too much noise that could compromise covert operations.
Before people can see that robots are heading towards them, it would seem that they will be hearing them first. Engineering and robotics design company Boston Dynamics, a company owned by Google's parent company Alphabet Inc., has been collaborating with the United States Defense Department known as DARPA on building autonomous machines that could carry supplies for the military.
The Pentagon's DARPA first showed off its robot dogs in 2012, known as the LS3 or Legged Squad Support System. The design of these machines is to carry about 400 pounds of supplies for the military through rugged terrains that regular vehicles would not be able to navigate. The US Marines admitted that the dogs would not be making it to the front lines any time soon, since it was producing loud noises that may compromise tactical positions.
The US Marine Corps spokesperson Kyle Olson said to military.com that the noise produced by the LS3's gas-powered engine was tactically unhelpful. He added that as the Marines were using the robots, there was a challenge of seeing potential possibilities because of the robot's limitations itself. The troops took it as it was, a loud machine that is going to compromise their position.
Boston Dynamics also used funds coming from DARPA to build a faster and smaller robot dog known as Spot. Equipped with an electric engine that produces less noise compared to the LS3, its small frame can only carry around 40 pounds of military supplies, which is not much of an aid to the Marines as the troops can carry about 100 pounds themselves.
While the robot dogs are adept in pulling Santa Clause's sleigh, the Spot dogs were not of much use to the troops like the LS3. As of the moment, both robots are in the military's storage, without contracts from the US Government. It is unlikely that they would be seen in military operations anytime soon.