You don't have to look much further than Star Wars: Attack of the Clones to see how handy a low-level walking war robot could be on the battlefield. So, not surprisingly, scientists have now put together the first edition of what is essentially a mini-AT-TE. It's both adorable and deadly.
Developed by Boston Dynamics, the
AT-TE LS3 (Legged Squad Support System) is meant to eventually serve as a modern-day pack mule for soldiers on the battlefield, and the current version is designed to carry nearly 400 pounds of gear and weapons so that soldiers are unencumbered to do their soldiering.
Yes, the LS3 only has four legs where the AT-TE had six, but they still look darn similar.
According to a story at SBS, the LS3 will carry everything from food and supplies to artillery ammunition, plus it'll be reinforced to provide cover during an attack.
Of course, all the good ideas in the world only go so far—and it will take some extremely smart software and design sense to get this thing to a point where it doesn't get stuck on a rock in the middle of a firefight. At the moment, the little walking drone can follow voice commands from troops and track its location via GPS and a cutting-edge computer vision system to help map its own surroundings.
Though development is still in the early stages, DARPA has pulled together experts from Bell Helicopter, Woodward HRT, AAI Corporation, NASA and Carnegie Mellon to get this thing walking.
Even better? If it gets flipped over, it can turn itself back upright (LS3: 1, Turtles: 0).
To see it in action, check out the test video below:
It seems they've learned from the mistakes of the much taller AT-AT, which had the fatal flaw of tripping and falling over. I'd like to see some Ewoks take this bad boy out.