Robots manufacturer Boston Dynamics recently debuted some video of the next-generation robotic “mule” it’s developing as a method for transporting military equipment around uneven terrain. The company has been working on a four-legged machine for hauling gear since 2005, and its videos featuring the “BigDog” robots have been an online (and on-air) hit, showing off the robots ability to handle all manner of environment and external obstacles (including soldiers trying to knock it down).
The AlphaDog video shows that the robot has learned a few new tricks since we last saw it — such as the ability to right itself after being knocked over. The AlphaDog can also carry up to 400 pounds (60 more than its BigDog predecessor), and can walk for 20 miles without needing recalibration or refueling.
Officially titled the Legged Squad Support System (L3), AlphaDog and BigDog are being developed through funding by DARPA, though it will still be a little while before they’re in active use. The military is expected to begin testing the robots in 2012.