DARPA puts squad support robot through obstacle tests

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently completed its first outdoor test of a semi-autonomous, four-legged robot that ultimately will be used by soldiers and Marines to haul upwards of 400 pounds of squad gear at a time, agency officials said in a Feb. 7 announcement.

During its first outdoor test, an operator steered the Legged Squad Support System, which resembles a pack mule, through rough terrain by guiding it between trees, over rocks and around people, the announcement said.

An 18-month testing cycle during which engineers will refine the cargo-carrying robot is scheduled to begin this summer, the announcement said. The goal is for the sensor-laden robot to haul a 400-pound load 20 miles in 24 hours without refueling.

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