The good people at Boston Dynamics have invented a pack-mule robot called BigDog (get it? BD = Boston Dynamics?) It’s a robot the size of a lama that can haul 340 lbs of gear across virtually any terrain.

Unfortunately, the thing is deafingly loud, so no sneaking up on an enemy with a herd of these things. Check out the video and watch it get kicked by one of the handlers. Later it jumps over an invisible log.

Can you imagine being stuck on a mountain, and being rescued by one of these Techno Bernandiners?

Says BD about their new AT-AT Walker:

The Most Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth
BigDog is the alpha male of the Boston Dynamics family of robots. It is a quadruped robot that walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog’s legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter long, 0.7 meters tall and 75 kg weight.

BigDog has an on-board computer that controls locomotion, servos the legs and handles a wide variety of sensors. BigDog’s control system manages the dynamics of its behavior to keep it balanced, steer, navigate, and regulate energetics as conditions vary. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a laser gyroscope, and a stereo vision system. Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, battery charge and others.

In separate trials, BigDog runs at 4 mph, climbs slopes up to 35 degrees, walks across rubble, and carries a 340 lb load.

BigDog is being developed by Boston Dynamics with the goal of creating robots that have rough-terrain mobility that can take them anywhere on Earth that people and animals can go.  The program is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).

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