In September this year, we told you about DARPA’s Legged Squad Support System (LS3) program that attempts to create a four-legged robot that is capable of following troops in battle. Well, the program is still in schedule, and DARPA has posted a more detailed video of the robotic mule’s capabilities and features. As you can see in the video above, the LS3 now has some nifty upgrades and improvements, and one obvious new feature is the ability to follow voice commands.
Commands like “LS3 power on” will automatically turn on the power of the robot, and a “LS3 follow tight” command will signal the robot to follow the commanding officer. LS3 can process and follow ten different kinds of voice commands such as “follow,” “stop,” “sit,” “stay,” and more. LS3 can even survive a fall, and can stand up to its knees and continue walking. The video also shows the LS3′s varying speeds. It almost seems as if the robot can now run.
DARPA says that the LS3 can now do night ops and can navigate GPS waypoints autonomously with “zero percent illumination.” Users can also give LS3 a distance and a direction to follow, and it will execute the command. LS3 can also detect vegetation, and can plow through five foot high bushes without also plowing headfirst into rocks. Albeit the robot is a bit noisy, DARPA says that it now has a noise level of about 70 decibels, which puts it at the passenger car/ vacuum cleaner level. Not bad for a bad-ass robot.