Boston Dynamics, the robotics company bought by Google and operated with assistance from DARPA, may well have made plenty of viral internet Top Ten lists with its weird LS3 or Big Dog robot, but the military people for whom it was built are... not so impressed.
One unit of the US Marines tasked with trialling the engine-powered robotic helper has apparently given the thing a disastrous performance review, with the walking robot simply too loud to be used in a combat scenario. A whirring engine is not what you need on covert ops.
Kyle Olson from the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab told Military.com that use of LS3 has been "sunsetted" as Google might say, saying: "As Marines were using it, there was the challenge of seeing the potential possibility because of the limitations of the robot itself. They took it as it was: a loud robot that's going to give away their position."
Also, no one knows how to fix it when it breaks, because it's a robot. There's a smaller battery powered model known as Spot which is quieter -- but not so much use due to its much reduced cargo options and lack of autonomous guidance. In short, robot soldiers or pack mules still look quite far away. The cheaper and more plentiful meat versions will still be fighting the wars of the future. [Military via Guardian]