Everyone’s favourite creepy donkey-bot, BigDog, has had its
first taste of action in the real world, participating in
multinational war-games in Hawaii.
The robot was assigned to a group of US Marines, who used it to
cart around supplies and water on unsteady terrain during RIMPAC
2014 — a biannual naval exercise that includes 22
nations, 29 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and
The particular version of the robot assigned to the test, the LS3, nicknamed
‘Cujo’, was able to carry 180kg of equipment for 32 kilometres
before running out of fuel. It was used to conduct resupply
missions to platoons around the training area.
Brandon Dieckmann, the marine who was tasked with controlling
it, reported that it could manage 70 to 80 percent of the same
terrain that humans can — much more than a traditional transport
Another marine operating the robot, Huberth Duarte, said that
the controls were simple to learn, adding that it “feels like
playing Call of Duty“.
The Darpa-funded robot has been in development for many years,
and was developed by Boston Dynamics — the robotics company which
was acquired by Google in late 2013.