AlphaDog: A Military Robot You Don't Want To Pet

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Oct. 4 2011 4:03 PM

AlphaDog: A Military Robot You Don’t Want To Pet

Dogs have long had a place in the military. But they weren't this huge.

AlphaDog is a DARPA-funded robot meant to serve as a (if you’ll excuse the mixed animal metaphor) pack mule for the military in rough terrain.  IEEE Spectrum’s Automaton blog says it would be better named “HugeAndAwesomeDog,” and I can’t really argue with that.

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The video below is just a prototype, but Automaton says that testing on the real thing will begin in 2012. DARPA’s hope is that the robot, developed by Boston Dynamics, will be able to carry 400 pounds over 20 miles for 24 hours without having to be refueled. AlphaDog will also be able to self-right if it bumps into something (or someone) in its way.

Read more on IEEE Spectrum.

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Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. Follow her on Twitter.