Tiptoeing on tulips – that is exactly what the folks over at Boston Dynamics are supposed to do with their LS3 mule robot. LS3 stands for Legged Squad Support System, where we have seen in the past just how it managed to make its way across some pretty rough terrain on all fours, without even falling down when it was kicked. Not only that, it boasted the strength to haul around 400 pounds of supplies over 20 miles at a time on a single tank of fuel. While the LS3 is capable of lasting throughout 24 hours on a mission, the existing model is way too noisy for battlefield operations, with the main culprit being the gas-powered hydraulic pump.
DARPA hopes that an injection of $10 million will be able to ensure that the LS3’s head area, where most of its sensitive electronics are placed, will be bulletproof, just like most of the rest of its body. Apart from that, DARPA also wants the LS3 to be a whole lot more stealthy than it already is at this point in time. Will the folks at Boston Dynamics be able to pull it off with the new round of funding? $10 million is a drop in the bucket especially when you consider it against the amount spent for the F-35’s program so far.