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FYI: Gadget

Robotic Rover?

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If a dog is man’s best friend, who is buddying up with BigDog? This four-legged land drone, funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, the folks who helped create the internet), was developed by Boston Dynamics as the “alpha male” of the company’s roster of military-grade robots.

In the field BigDog is a persistent beast, travelling through varied landscapes at speeds of up to 4 miles per hour, climbing 35-degree slopes, crawling across icy creeks, and (of course) sitting—all carrying as much as 340 pounds on its metallic back.

Currently BigDog is operated by a human pilot via remote control, but plans are afoot to use computer vision, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), and GPS technologies to give the rover more autonomy. BigDog could unburden military, law enforcement, and search-and-rescue teams by shouldering loads normally carried by humans—while automatically following its master through rugged terrain.

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Aaron Lazenby

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