In an unprecedented news, the U.S. Military abandoned $42M “Alpha Robot Dogs” for being too noisy. The machinery developed in association with Google’s affiliated company, Boston Dynamics was supposed to offer support to soldiers on battlefields and help them carry around 400 pounds of load.
The U.S. Military began testing Google’s robotic dog in September. Both Boston Dynamics and the U.S. military forces appeared to be incredibly satisfied with the numerous tasks and operations that the robot could carry. Yet, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) declared that the bots were simply too noisy to be used in combat.
According to DARPA soldiers would constantly risk giving away their position, if they were accompanied by Google’s robotic dog. Even so, the defense administration encourages the research that Google is making because soldiers need a reliable robot to carry their loads on battlefields.
Soldiers are not supposed to carry more than 72 pounds during marches and 48 pounds during combats, officials have stated. Unfortunately, soldiers in the Iraq war had to carry 101 pounds in 2003, which is why the military forces are looking for robotic support.
Boston Dynamics’ AlphaDog seemed like a good project when it was first started, especially since developers stated that the robotic dog can carry up to 400 pounds. The program received a $42 million funding, but it’s all to no avail if developers can’t work to make the bot quieter.
Consequently, Google built a second prototype, one that would not make too much noise on the battlefield. The project was called “Spot” and it was first introduced as Santa’s reindeer in a special YouTube show. As much attention as the new robot received, Spot did not pass DARPA’s tests, either because it can only carry 40 pounds, a load that is too small to actually help soldiers in combat.
Although AlphaDog was currently rejected, the Marine Corps will continue funding similar research to improve their fighting tactics. Although the AlphaDogs robots did not meet all technical requirements, they have helped set the grounds for autonomous, unmanned weapons that will help the Marine Corps have the lead in fights.
Image source: www.bostondynamics.com