Google is well known for delivering on great products with everlasting effects on how we communicate and interact today. So it is quite exciting to catch a glimpse and to see these things as they are first developing. The robotics dog “LS3” is no different. Back in 2013, we first heard of Google buying up huge amounts of spacing in the field of robotics, the possibilities could have been endless. Having been working on it for quite some time, Android head of development Andy Rubin, disclosed several startups that Google had been working on acquiring. Among these were Boston Dynamics, Autofuss, Industrial Preception and Meka, just to name a few. Google was definitely working to be the dominate leader in the field of robotics.
Boston Dynamics, who had been working quite extensively with the U.S military research body Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), had already established their robotics as highly advanced and built for speed. They were well known for their existing project, Big Dogs, all-terrain robots and humanoid robots. Although, after Google had acquired Boston Dynamics and while planning to honor any existing Military contract, Google had planned to do away with future military operations with their robotics. Even so, Google along with Boston Dynamics were not quite finished with the military offering their “Robo Dogs” as a service of war specifically the model robotic LS3. Boston Dynamics and DARPA had spent many years developing their robotics costing the collaboration around $42 million. LS3, which was also called the Legged Squad Support System, could walk through brush and scale an upside hill, all while carrying 400 pounds of gear. Although, The U.S military has one big problem with the LS3 that has caused them to drop the program completely. It all comes down to one simple thing, the robotic dogs were just too loud.
Kyle Olson, a spokesman for the U.S Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, told Military.com, that the Marines drew the line at “the limitations of the robot itself. They took it as it was: A loud robot that’s going to give away their position.”
The U.S military was likely not wrong in dropping the program completely due to the fact that even Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert told C-Net that the LS3 was “about as quiet as a typical motor vehicle, such as a car or Humvee.” After all, while in the battle and engaging the enemy, silence is one of the most important aspects of war. As time goes on, Google’s robotics team and the U.S Military are sure to see more future collaboration, even if Google says they are done with future military contracts.