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Marines test robot at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall

By Courtney Dock | | September 13, 2012

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The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Boston Dynamic tested an autonomous robot on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Sept. 10.

The Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, demonstration was a performance test of the pack mule prototype for the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos and DARPA Director, Arati Prabhakar.

While the LS3 may look like a cumbersome robotic creature from the future, its capabilities and agile functionality are designed with the dismounted warfighter in mind.

Raibert explains LS3 can go off-terrain in the woods, on rocks, in snow and in water.

The main idea behind the LS3 is to use it as a robotic pack mule for hauling gear that has become burdensome for dismounted Marines and Soldiers on the battlefield. Today

MCWL Head of the Logistics Combat Element Branch and Project Officer for LS3, Maj. James Richardson said, his office is responsible for experiments and technologies associated with lightening the load for the deployed servicemember.

The demonstration stopped traffic on McNair Road and showed more than 30 people how the LS3 is given directions from a leader and quickly adapts and follows the command much like a loyal canine would. It does not need to be driven, because the robot follows the leader using computer vision or travels to designated locations using sensing and GPS.

LS3 climbed muddy hills, crossed McNair Road and even ran through the field to demonstrate its 7-mph speed over flat surfaces. LS3 proved that even after being placed in an overturned position, it could right itself and keep moving along its designated path.

The exhibition ended phase one of a three phase series in LS3

The LS3

Wise also added, in phase two, they will be looking for ways to make LS3 more intuitive for Marines to pick up the controls and operate the system. In this day of technology, MCWL, DARPA and Boston Dynamics staff understand the importance of making the equipment they design for tomorrow as easy to operate as the everyday smart phones and video game consoles young servicemembers and future LS3 operators use now.

Both Amos and Prabhakar were visibly impressed with the capabilities and the future of LS3. Amos, when he led Marine Corps Combat Development Command in 2007, had a chance to view LS3


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