Field tests find robotic LS3 military mule too loud to use on an actual battlefield

Contributed by
Dec 29, 2015

Well, this is kind of embarrassing. Boston Dynamics has spent the past several years working on what essentially equates to a robotic pack mule, dubbed the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), which would help carry supplies and weaponry for soldiers in battle. It's an excellent idea, and would've allowed soldiers to carry more gear in the field.

Well, the device finally got a rollout for live testing with some real-life Marines, and the soldiers tasked with testing it out found one really big problem with the LS3 — it’s loud. Like, really loud, apparently. And way too loud to actually use in a war zone, where keeping quiet can be the difference between being discovered and actually making it home alive. Oops.

Military.com notes Warfighting Lab spokesperson Kyle Olson pointed out the live tests found the “lawnmower-like noise” of the mule’s gas engine a critical fault, along with the potential problems if the hefty device were to break down in the field. How do you fix it? And more than that, how do you manage to successfully integrate it into a field unit that needs to be versatile? These questions turned out to be too hard to answer, so the product is likely going to be scrapped. Maybe the LS3 can find a new life in a field a bit less stressful — hiking, perhaps?

Check out some (very loud) footage of a recent test run below and let us know what you think.


(Via Popular Science)

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