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Boston Robotics' AlphaDog takes its first steps in the wilderness

AlphaDog3

We watched Boston Robotics' LS3 AlphaDog traipse around the confines of a lab last October, but the DARPA-funded quadrupedal robot was a mere puppy then, tethered to a set path. Now the robotic beast is living up to its name and heading to the great outdoors for field testing. Though it won't be tackling stealth missions any time soon — this version is just as loud as the one in the lab — AlphaDog successful navigated rocky inclines and was able to track and follow a human target through the woods. DARPA hopes to refine the concept over the next 18 months and demonstrate the robot's ability to ease the physical load put on unmounted soldiers by carrying 400lbs over 20 miles and without needing refuelling for 24-hours. And if AlphaDog's movements aren't unsettling enough for you, DARPA hopes future versions will be able to interact with soldiers in the field the same way trained animals interact with their handlers.

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