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This video depicts field testing of the DARPA Legged Squad Support System (LS3). The goal of the LS3 program is to demonstrate that a legged robot can unburden dismounted squad members by carrying their gear, autonomously following them through rugged terrain, and interpreting verbal and visual commands.
Today’s dismounted warfighter can be saddled with more than 100 pounds of gear, resulting in physical strain, fatigue and degraded performance. Reducing the load on dismounted warfighters has become a major point of emphasis for defense research and development, because the increasing weight of individual equipment has a negative impact on warfighter readiness. The Army has identified physical overburden as one of its top five science and technology challenges. To help alleviate physical weight on troops, DARPA is developing a four-legged robot, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), to integrate with a squad of Marines or Soldiers.
LS3 seeks to demonstrate that a highly mobile, semi-autonomous legged robot can carry 400 lbs of a squad’s load, follow squad members through rugged terrain and interact with troops in a natural way, similar to a trained animal and its handler.
The LS3 program goal is to develop a robot that will go through the same terrain the squad goes through without hindering the squad’s mission. The robot could also serve as a mobile auxiliary power source to the squad, so troops can recharge batteries for radios and handheld devices while on patrol.
Leader-follower tight: LS3 attempts to follow as close as possible to the path its leader takes Leader-follower corridor: LS3 sticks to the leader but has freedom to make local path decisions, so the leader doesn’t need to think about LS3’s mobility capabilities Go-to-waypoint: LS3 uses its local perception to avoid obstacles on its way to a designated GPS coordinate