The Big Dog by Boston Dynamics has become a regular sight when the military and robotics come into discussions. The company acquired by Google two years ago has been working on a quadruped robot which is designed to help support troops in the field by carrying large pieces of equipment, that was until the US Military stated that it was too loud for practical use.
The Big Dog, officially titled the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), is designed to carry weights of up to 180kg over rough terrain. While other options such as Spot, a small electric motor powered robot, were considered. Their carry weight of 18kg and lack of autonomous functions meant that it was shelved after successful military trails.
While being able to cross snow, shallow water, rubble and climb muddy trails, the top speed of 4mph meant that the big dog, while useful for carrying large amounts of equipment over long distances, the second you got close to a target the loud noise and slow movement speed made you all but sitting ducks.
While there are designs for other direct purpose robots, with one called the Cheetah clocking in at 29mph and another called RiSE titled for its ability to climb vertical surfaces, it is with no doubt that Boston Dynamics will be revealing more robots soon.