It’s been a long time coming, but the BigDog, a robotic pack mule, has just won $10 million in Pentagon funding. The robot, covered way back in 2004 by Danger Room’s Noah Shachtman, is designed to carry equipment for soldiers. The petrol-engined quadruped will supposedly run and jump with its load, negotiating obstacles up to a meter (3.3 feet) high and two meters wide.
I wonder how many real mules the military could have purchased for ten million dollars, but on the plus side it’s legal to kick them.
The gas powered engine is still pretty loud, and newer versions promise to be quieter. Robots traveling on legs and not wheels or tracks could navigate very difficult terrain and if the pack can carry equipment for four soldiers it won’t be too far off before armed versions start walking into the desert somewhere.